School of Mathematical Sciences

Intracellular calcium signalling and the Ising model menu

Intracellular calcium signalling and the Ising model

Anna Maltsev (QM)
Wed, 04/10/2017 - 13:00
W316, Queen's Building

Intracellular Ca signals represent a universal mechanism of cell function. Messages carried by Ca are local, rapid, and powerful enough to be delivered over the thermal noise. A higher signal to noise ratio is achieved by a cooperative action of Ca release channels arranged in clusters (release units) containing a few to several hundred release channels. The channels synchronize their openings via Ca-induced-Ca-release, generating high-amplitude local Ca signals known as puffs in neurons and sparks in muscle cells. Despite positive feedback nature of the activation, Ca signals are strictly confined in time and space by an unexplained termination mechanism. We construct an exact mapping of such molecular clusters to an Ising model and demonstrate that the collective transition of release channels from an open to a closed state is identical to the phase transition associated with the reversal of magnetic field. This is joint work with Prof. Stern's laboratory at the National Institutes of Health.