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Cellular automata modelling of slime mould actin network signalling

Adamatkzy, Andrew; Mayne, Richard; Adamatzky, Andrew

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Andrew Adamatkzy

Richard Mayne
Lecturer in Maths Supporting Science


© 2016, The Author(s). Actin is a cytoskeletal protein which forms dense, highly interconnected networks within eukaryotic cells. A growing body of evidence suggests that actin-mediated intra- and extracellular signalling is instrumental in facilitating organism-level emergent behaviour patterns which, crucially, may be characterised as natural expressions of computation. We use excitable cellular automata modelling to simulate signal transmission through cell arrays whose topology was extracted from images of Watershed transformation-derived actin network reconstructions; the actin networks sampled were from laboratory experimental observations of a model organism, slime mould Physarum polycephalum. Our results indicate that actin networks support directional transmission of generalised energetic phenomena, the amplification and trans-network speed of which of which is proportional to network density (whose primary determinant is the anatomical location of the network sampled). Furthermore, this model also suggests the ability of such networks for supporting signal-signal interactions which may be characterised as Boolean logical operations, thus indicating that a cell’s actin network may function as a nanoscale data transmission and processing network. We conclude by discussing the role of the cytoskeleton in facilitating intracellular computing, how computation can be implemented in such a network and practical considerations for designing ‘useful’ actin circuitry.


Adamatkzy, A., Mayne, R., & Adamatzky, A. (2019). Cellular automata modelling of slime mould actin network signalling. Natural Computing, 18(1), 5-12.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 19, 2016
Online Publication Date May 19, 2016
Publication Date Mar 15, 2019
Deposit Date May 23, 2016
Publicly Available Date May 23, 2016
Journal Natural Computing
Print ISSN 1567-7818
Electronic ISSN 1572-9796
Publisher Springer (part of Springer Nature)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 1
Pages 5-12
Keywords physarum polycephalum, watershed transformation, actin, cytoskeleton, cellular automata, unconventional computing
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