Electric spatial patterns of bands formed along the cell wall of the characean internode were studied using a multi-electrode measuring system. The electric potential near the surface of the cell was measured by arranging about 25 electrodes along the cell at approximately 1.6 mm intervals. Since the time required for one scan over the cell length is only 1 s, the temporal change in the spatial pattern of surface electric potential can be readily observed. Oscillations were sometimes found as the electric pattern started to appear after the cell was illuminated. Fourier analysis shows that a single spatial mode arises gradually and then becomes stabilized in an oscillatory manner. A simple electric circuit model comprising three variables, i.e., a membrane potential, an electric current across the membrane and an electromotive force, can simulate well the oscillatory rise of bands. These results imply that the electric spatial pattern observed in characean internodes is a self-organized structure emerging far from equilibrium, known as a dissipative structure. Biophysical mechanisms of band formation are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes