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  Mechanism of signal propagation in Physarum polycephalum

Alim, K., Andrew, N., Pringle, A., & Brenner, M. P. (2017). Mechanism of signal propagation in Physarum polycephalum. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(20), 5136-5141. doi:10.1073/pnas.1618114114.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-58C1-0 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-1E1C-0
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Alim, Karen1, Author              
Andrew, Natalie1, Author              
Pringle, A., Author
Brenner, M. P., Author
Affiliations:
1Max Planck Research Group Biological Physics and Morphogenesis, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Max Planck Society, ou_2266692              

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Free keywords: acellular slime mold; transport network; behavior; Taylor dispersion
 Abstract: Complex behaviors are typically associated with animals, but the capacity to integrate information and function as a coordinated individual is also a ubiquitous but poorly understood feature of organisms such as slime molds and fungi. Plasmodial slime molds grow as networks and use flexible, undifferentiated body plans to forage for food. How an individual communicates across its network remains a puzzle, but Physarum polycephalum has emerged as a novel model used to explore emergent dynamics. Within P. polycephalum, cytoplasm is shuttled in a peristaltic wave driven by cross-sectional contractions of tubes. We first track P. polycephalum's response to a localized nutrient stimulus and observe a front of increased contraction. The front propagates with a velocity comparable to the flow-driven dispersion of particles. We build a mathematical model based on these data and in the aggregate experiments and model identify the mechanism of signal propagation across a body: The nutrient stimulus triggers the release of a signaling molecule. The molecule is advected by fluid flows but simultaneously hijacks flow generation by causing local increases in contraction amplitude as it travels. The molecule is initiating a feedback loop to enable its own movement. This mechanism explains previously puzzling phenomena, including the adaptation of the peristaltic wave to organism size and P. polycephalum's ability to find the shortest route between food sources. A simple feedback seems to give rise to P. polycephalum's complex behaviors, and the same mechanism is likely to function in the thousands of additional species with similar behaviors.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2017-05-022017-05-16
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Method: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1618114114
 Degree: -

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Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: -
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 114 (20) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 5136 - 5141 Identifier: ISSN: 0027-8424