Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How living matter self-organizes through chemical signals

04.07.2019

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization show new mechanism of self-organization of living matter.

Sensing each other through chemistry


Mixtures of producer and consumer particles can self-organize in many ways. From left to right: formation of small self-propelled molecules composed of just a few particles; complete separation of producers and consumers into distinct clusters; aggregation into a static cluster with precise composition; aggregation into a self-propelled comet-like cluster.

© MPIDS

Combining theory and computer simulations, the researchers studied the behaviour of mixtures of different particle species, which produce or consume a chemical signal to which they may in turn be attracted or repelled.

Depending on the characteristics of each species, as well as on the ratios in which the species are mixed, they found that the particles will spontaneously aggregate together or separate in a myriad of different configurations.

Mixtures of one producer species and one consumer species, for example, may completely separate into two distinct clusters under certain conditions, but under different conditions they may aggregate together into a cluster with a precisely defined composition. Even more spectacularly, these clusters may spontaneously start self-propelling in a comet-like fashion, with a close-packed group of producers being chased by a tail of consumers, or vice versa.

Breaking Newton’s third law

Indeed, according to Agudo-Canalejo and Golestanian, a peculiarity of these chemical-mediated interactions is that they effectively break Newton's third law of equal action and reaction: for example, a particle of one species may be attracted to a particle of the other species, but the second one may be repelled from the first one, so that one particle ends up chasing the other.

These and other peculiarities are a direct consequence of the chemical activity that characterizes living matter, and are responsible for the richness of the self-organization phenomena observed, which would be absent in a non-living system.

“We expect that our minimal model may be applied to a variety of problems in biology and engineering. The self-propelling clusters observed, for example, may be relevant to understand mechanisms of collective migration of cells or microorganisms in heterogeneous tissues or colonies. On a much smaller scale inside the cell, the model may explain why enzymes that participate in common catalytic pathways tend to co-localize, an observation that until now had no generic explanation,” says Jaime Agudo-Canalejo, first author of the study.

MPI director Ramin Golestanian adds: “We also envisage applications in the engineering of active materials, which may spontaneously assemble from synthetic particles that catalyze chemical reactions.”

Carolin Hoffrogge | Max-Planck-Institut für Dynamik und Selbstorganisation
Further information:
http://www.ds.mpg.de/3426119/190619_pm_prl_agudo_canalejo

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht It’s closeness that counts: how proximity affects the resistance of graphene
28.01.2020 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

nachricht Quantum physics: On the way to quantum networks
27.01.2020 | Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Integrate Micro Chips for electronic Skin

Researchers from Dresden and Osaka present the first fully integrated flexible electronics made of magnetic sensors and organic circuits which opens the path towards the development of electronic skin.

Human skin is a fascinating and multifunctional organ with unique properties originating from its flexible and compliant nature. It allows for interfacing with...

Im Focus: Dresden researchers discover resistance mechanism in aggressive cancer

Protease blocks guardian function against uncontrolled cell division

Researchers of the Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital Dresden at the National Center for Tumor Diseases Dresden (NCT/UCC), together with an international...

Im Focus: New roles found for Huntington's disease protein

Crucial role in synapse formation could be new avenue toward treatment

A Duke University research team has identified a new function of a gene called huntingtin, a mutation of which underlies the progressive neurodegenerative...

Im Focus: A new look at 'strange metals'

For years, a new synthesis method has been developed at TU Wien (Vienna) to unlock the secrets of "strange metals". Now a breakthrough has been achieved. The results have been published in "Science".

Superconductors allow electrical current to flow without any resistance - but only below a certain critical temperature. Many materials have to be cooled down...

Im Focus: Programmable nests for cells

KIT researchers develop novel composites of DNA, silica particles, and carbon nanotubes -- Properties can be tailored to various applications

Using DNA, smallest silica particles, and carbon nanotubes, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) developed novel programmable materials....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

„Advanced Battery Power“- Conference, Contributions are welcome!

07.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Towards better anti-cancer drugs: New insights into CDK8, an important human oncogene

28.01.2020 | Life Sciences

Rice lab turns trash into valuable graphene in a flash

28.01.2020 | Materials Sciences

AI can jump-start radiation therapy for cancer patients

28.01.2020 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>