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Sparks and waves in a stochastic fire-diffuse-fire model of Ca2+

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posted on 25.07.2005, 11:26 by S. Coombes, Yulia Timofeeva
Calcium ions are an important second messenger in living cells. Indeed calcium signals in the form of waves have been the subject of much recent experimental interest. It is now well established that these waves are composed of elementary stochastic release events (calcium puffs) from spatially localized calcium stores. Here we develop a computationally inexpensive model of calcium release based upon a stochastic generalization of the Fire-Diffuse-Fire (FDF) threshold model. Our model retains the discrete nature of calcium stores, but also incorporates a notion of release probability via the introduction of threshold noise. Numerical simulations of the model illustrate that stochastic calcium release leads to the spontaneous production of calcium sparks that may merge to form saltatory waves. In the parameter regime where deterministic waves exist it is possible to identify a critical level of noise defining a non-equilibrium phase-transition between propagating and abortive structures. A statistical analysis shows that this transition is the same as for models in the directed percolation universality class. Moreover, in the regime where no initial structure can survive deterministically, threshold noise is shown to generate a form of array enhanced coherence resonance whereby all calcium stores release periodically and simultaneously.



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This pre-print has been submitted, and accepted, to the journal Physical Review E. The definitive version: COOMBES, S. and TIMOFEEVA, Y., 2003. Sparks and waves in a stochastic fire-diffuse-fire model of Ca2+. Physical Review E, 68(2), art. no. 021915 is available online at



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