Nonlinear pulses at the interface and its relation to state and temperature
Department of Physics, Technical University of Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany
Accepted: 22 January 2020
Published online: 5 February 2020
Environmental temperature has a well-conserved effect on the pulse velocity and excitability of excitable biological systems. The consistency suggests that the cause originates from a fundamental principle. A physical (hydrodynamic) approach has proposed that the thermodynamic state of the hydrated interface (e.g., plasma membrane) determines the pulse behavior. This implies that the temperature effect happens because the environmental temperature affects the state of the interface in any given system. To test the hypothesis, we measured temperature-dependent phase diagrams of a lipid monolayer and studied the properties of nonlinear acoustic pulses excited along the membrane. We observed that the membrane in the fluid-gel transition regime exhibited lower compressibility (i.e., stiffer) overall with increasing temperature. Nonlinear pulses excited near the transition state propagated with greater velocity with increasing temperature, and these observations were consistent with the compressibility profiles. Excitability was suppressed significantly or ceased completely when the state departed too far from the transition regime either by cooling or by heating. The overall correlation between the pulses in the membrane and in living systems as a function of temperature supports the view that the thermodynamic state of the interface and phase transition are the key to understanding pulse propagation in excitable systems.
Key words: Soft Matter: Interfacial Phenomena and Nanostructured Surfaces
© The Author(s), 2020