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Seminar über aktuelle Fragen zur Dynamik komplexer Fluide

Seminar über aktuelle Fragen zur Dynamik komplexer Fluide: Biological droplets driven by chemical reactions

  • Date: Feb 23, 2018
  • Time: 10:15 - 11:15
  • Speaker: Dr. David Zwicker
  • RG Theory of Biological Fluids, MPI-DS
  • Location: Max-Planck-Institut für Dynamik und Selbstorganisation (MPIDS)
  • Room: SR 0.77
  • Host: MPIDS/DCF
  • Contact: guido.schriever@ds.mpg.de
Phase separation has recently emerged as an important concept to understand the spatial organization of biological matter. In this talk, I will demonstrate that such biological droplets can be controlled by non-equilibrium chemical reactions that affect the droplet material. As an example, I will describe a model for centrosomes, which are membrane-less organelles that organize cell division. Here, an autocatalytic reaction explains their growth dynamics in wild-type and mutant conditions, while a localized reaction controls their nucleation. More generally, the compositional fluxes generated by the chemical reactions can counteract the destabilizing effect of surface tension and thus suppress Ostwald ripening. Since the active droplets that I discuss resemble simple protocells where the chemical reactions play the role of a prebiotic metabolism, we propose that this property played an important part at the origin of life.
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