Nonlinear dynamics near the cell membrane of Chara corallina

T. Yu Plyusnina, A. I. Lavrova, C. B. Price, G. Yu Riznichenko, A. B. Rubin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The phenomenon of patterned distribution of pH near the cell membrane of the algae Chara corallina upon illumination is well-known. In this paper, we develop a mathematical model, based on the detailed kinetic analysis of proton fluxes across the cell membrane, to explain this phenomenon. The model yields two coupled nonlinear partial differential equations which describe the spatial dynamics of proton concentration changes and transmembrane potential generation. The experimental observation of pH pattern formation, its period and amplitude of oscillation, and also its hysteresis in response to changing illumination, are all reproduced by our model. A comparison of experimental results and predictions of our theory is made. Finally, a mechanism for pattern formation in Chara corallina is proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-217
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Biological Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes

Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Mathematics


  • Cell membrane
  • Dissipative structures
  • Hysteresis
  • pH patterns
  • Proton transport
  • Transmembrane potential


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