A mathematical model for adaptive transport network in path finding by true slime mold

Atsushi Tero, Ryo Kobayashi, Toshiyuki Nakagaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

271 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We describe here a mathematical model of the adaptive dynamics of a transport network of the true slime mold Physarum polycephalum, an amoeboid organism that exhibits path-finding behavior in a maze. This organism possesses a network of tubular elements, by means of which nutrients and signals circulate through the plasmodium. When the organism is put in a maze, the network changes its shape to connect two exits by the shortest path. This process of path-finding is attributed to an underlying physiological mechanism: a tube thickens as the flux through it increases. The experimental evidence for this is, however, only qualitative. We constructed a mathematical model of the general form of the tube dynamics. Our model contains a key parameter corresponding to the extent of the feedback regulation between the thickness of a tube and the flux through it. We demonstrate the dependence of the behavior of the model on this parameter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-564
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Volume244
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 21 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics

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