Breaking it Down: Mathematically Modeling Protein Localization in Caulobacter Crescentus
Bacterial cells are prokaryotic; i.e. they are organized such that they lack membrane-bound nuclei or organelles (structures that perform cellular functions). However, they show a high degree of spatial and temporal localization of various protein mechanisms that assume the functions of organelles. Where and when these proteins appear in the cells is tightly controlled during cell division. Over the summer, I worked at Pomona College, where I helped develop a mathematical model which studies the localization of two proteins that participate in cell division in the Caulobacter Crescentus Bacterium. We used a partial differential equation, reaction-diffusion model to describe protein dynamics in these cells. I helped show, through numerical simulations in MATLAB, that our model solutions are in good agreement with recent experimental results.