bims-fascar Biomed News
on Phase separation and cellular architecture
Issue of 2019‒06‒02
one paper selected by
Victoria Yan
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics


  1. Soft Matter. 2019 May 31.
    Shan WJ, Zhang F, Tian WD, Chen K.
      Many types of active matter are deformable, such as epithelial cells and bacteria. To mimic the feature of deformability, we built a model called an active colloidal cell (ACC), i.e. a vesicle enclosed with self-propelled particles (SPPs), which as a whole can move actively. Based on the model, we then study the role of deformability in the assembly structures and dynamics of ACCs by Langevin dynamics simulation. We find that deformability weakens the self-trapping effect and hence suppresses the clustering and phase separation of the deformable soft ACCs (sACCs). Instead of forming a large compact cluster like ordinary SPPs, sACCs pack into a loose network or porous structure in the phase-separation region. The condensed phase is liquid-like, in which sACCs are strongly compressed and deformed but still keep high motility. The interface between the gas and the condensed phases is blurry and unstable, and the effective interfacial energy is very low. Our work gives new insights into the role of deformability in the assembly of active matter and also provides a reference for further studies on different types of deformable active matter.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1039/c9sm00619b