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.
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