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Perfect micro rings woven from muscle fibers
Date:11/15/2011

This release is available in German.

Supplied with sufficient energy, a freight train would ride the rails as far as they go. But nature also knows systems whose dynamics suddenly turn into a kind of endless loop. Like in a hamster wheel, a train caught up in such a system would continue running, but without moving forward. Scientists from the Cluster of Excellence Nanosystems Initiative Munich have now succeeded in building a simple model system consisting of only three components to study the laws of such so-called absorbing states.

Scientists speak of an active system when a system continuously consumes energy. Active systems are all around us, anything from simple machines to highly developed creatures. However, our knowledge and understanding of these systems are still very limited. We often find complex phenomena where we would actually have expected simple patterns.

This is exactly is what happened to a team of physicists headed by the Nano Initiative Munich (NIM) scientist Andreas Bausch, biophysics professor at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) and Professor Erwin Frey, biophysicist at the Ludwig Maximilian University Munich (LMU). They investigated how fibers made of the muscle protein actin behave when they are transported and cross-linked at the same time. The physicists discovered that at a certain point the system suddenly entered a so-called absorbing state, albeit without ceasing to consume energy.

Scientists refer to a state that a system that cannot escape from as an absorbing state. The model system used by the researchers comprises merely three components: the muscle protein actin, motor proteins responsible for transport and movement in cells and fascin molecules that cross-link the actin fibers. Using this simple and easily controllable model allows the scientists to investigate the fundamental princi
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Contact: Dr. Andreas Battenberg
battenberg@zv.tum.de
49-892-891-0510
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Source:Eurekalert  

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