Dresden 2020 – wissenschaftliches Programm

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BP: Fachverband Biologische Physik

BP 6: Statistical Physics of Biological Systems I (joint session BP/DY)

BP 6.6: Vortrag

Montag, 16. März 2020, 16:45–17:00, SCH A251

Selection via phase separation — •Giacomo Bartolucci1,2, Yash Rana1,2, Alexandra Kühnlein3, Christof Mast3, Dieter Braun3, and Christoph A. Weber1,21Max Planck for the Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden — 2Center for Systems Biology Dresden — 3Ludwig Maximilian University, München

Living cells and pre-biotic systems are complex aqueous mixtures composed of thousands of different heteropolymers. In such multi-component mixtures, enrichment and selection of a small set of components are important to achieve biological function. However, when the number of components increases, each of them becomes more diluted impeding a significant enrichment of selected components. Here, we propose a selection mechanism relevant for prebiotic mixtures based on cycles of phase separation combined with material exchange of the dense phase with a reservoir. We find a selective enrichment of components up to two orders of magnitude coinciding with a growth of the dense phase up to the system volume. Such enrichment of selective components is robust also in mixtures composed of a large number of components. For a prebiotic soup, our findings indicate that cycles of phase separation and material exchange with a reservoir, e.g. the accumulation DNA gel in rock pores periodically filled with DNA rich aqueous solution, could provide a mechanism for the selection and enrichment of specific heteropolymers sequences in a multi-component mixture at the origin of life.

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