A microfluidic device for inferring metabolic landscapes in yeast monolayer colonies
Microbial colonies are fascinating structures in which growth and internal organization reflect complex morphogenetic processes. Here, we generated a microfluidics device with arrays of long monolayer yeast colonies to further global understanding of how intercellular metabolic interactions affect the internal structure of colonies within defined boundary conditions. We observed the emergence of stable glucose gradients using fluorescently labeled hexose transporters and quantified the spatial correlations with intra-colony growth rates and expression of other genes regulated by glucose availability. These landscapes depended on the external glucose concentration as well as secondary gradients, for example amino acid availability. This work demonstrates the regulatory genetic networks governing cellular physiological adaptation are the key to internal structuration of cellular assemblies. This approach could be used in the future to decipher the interplay between long-range metabolic interactions, cellular development and morphogenesis in more complex systems.