Active Growth and Pattern Formation in Membrane-Protein Systems

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Inspired by recent experimental observations of patterning at the membrane of a living cell, we propose a generic model for the dynamics of a fluctuating interface driven by particle-like inclusions which stimulate its growth. We find that the coupling between interfacial and inclusions dynam- ics yields microphase separation and the self-organisation of travelling waves. These patterns are strikingly similar to those detected in the aforementioned experiments on actin-protein systems. Our results further show that the active growth kinetics does not fall into the Kardar-Parisi-Zhang universality class for growing interfaces, displaying instead a novel superposition of equilibrium-like scaling and sustained oscillations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number258001
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number25
Early online date18 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2018


  • cond-mat.soft
  • cond-mat.stat-mech


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