Minimal model of a cell connecting amoebic motion and adaptive transport networks

Yukio Pegio Gunji, Tomohiro Shirakawa, Takayuki Niizato, Taichi Haruna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A cell is a minimal self-sustaining system that can move and compute. Previous work has shown that a unicellular slime mold, Physarum, can be utilized as a biological computer based on cytoplasmic flow encapsulated by a membrane. Although the interplay between the modification of the boundary of a cell and the cytoplasmic flow surrounded by the boundary plays a key role in Physarum computing, no model of a cell has been developed to describe this interplay. Here we propose a toy model of a cell that shows amoebic motion and can solve a maze, Steiner minimum tree problem and a spanning tree problem. Only by assuming that cytoplasm is hardened after passing external matter (or softened part) through a cell, the shape of the cell and the cytoplasmic flow can be changed. Without cytoplasm hardening, a cell is easily destroyed. This suggests that cytoplasmic hardening and/or sol-gel transformation caused by external perturbation can keep a cell in a critical state leading to a wide variety of shapes and motion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-667
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Volume253
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Aug 21

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Keywords

  • Adaptive network
  • Amoebic motion
  • Cell model
  • Natural computing
  • Physarum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics

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