Grilli, J; Cadart, C; Miceli, G; Osella, M; Lagomarsino, MC
In physics, it is customary to represent the fluctuations of a stochastic system at steady state in terms of linear response to small random perturbations. Previous work has shown that the same framework describes effectively the trade-off between cell-to-cell variability and correction in the control of cell division of single E.coli cells. However, previous analyses were motivated by specific models and limited to a subset of the measured variables. For example, most analyses neglected the role of growth rate variability. Here, we take a comprehensive approach and consider several sets of available data from both microcolonies and microfluidic devices in different growth conditions. We evaluate all the coupling coefficients between the three main measured variables (interdivision times, cell sizes and individual-cell growth rates). The linear-response framework correctly predicts consistency relations between a priori independent experimental measurements, which confirms its validity. Additionally, the couplings between the cell-specific growth rate and the other variables are typically non zero. Finally, we use the framework to detect signatures of mechanisms in experimental data involving growth rate fluctuations, finding that (1) noise-generating coupling between size and growth rate is a consequence of inter-generation growth rate correlations and (2) the correlation patterns agree with a near-adder model where the added size has a dependence on the single-cell growth rate. Our findings define relevant constraints that any theoretical description should reproduce, and will help future studies aiming to falsify some of the competing models of the cell cycle existing today in the literature.