Compression waves in lipid membranes: effects of phase transition and charge density, and possible relation to cellular communication

TYPEStatistical & Bio Seminar
Speaker:Matan Mussel
Affiliation:Haifa University
Time:11:30 - 12:30
Location:Lidow Nathan Rosen (300)

We describe a theoretical model of compression waves in lipid membranes near phase transition. Solutions correspond to observations in lipid monolayers and demonstrate similarities to action potentials, signals that propagate along the membrane of excitable cells. Key characteristics of solitary compression waves that reversibly cross the phase transition are a sigmoidal response to stimulation amplitude and annihilation upon collision. We also demonstrate that waves in charged lipid membranes propagate electrical and chemical variations in addition to the mechanical changes. The talk concludes with a prediction that different channels of the signal encode digital (all-or-none) and analog information about the stimulation strength. In this context we discuss the possibility of using compression waves for material computation.