Soliton-mediated ionic pulses and coupled ionic excitations in a dissipative electrical network model of microtubules

Eric Tankou, Conrad Bertrand Tabi, Timoléon Crépin Kofané

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many cellular activities are mediated by microtubules (MTs), with most electrophysiological processes depending on ionic flow through MT cylinders. This paper addresses such conductive features by representing the MT as a nonlinear electrical transmission line composed of capacitive and dissipative properties. Thanks to the semi-discrete approximation near the continuum limit, coupled ionic pulses flowing along cellular microtubules are described by a set of coupled cubic complex Ginzburg-Landau (CGL) equations whose one of the solutions is a plane wave. The stability of the latter is checked, under weak modulation, using an explicit analytical expression for the modulational instability (MI) growth rate. The parametric analysis of the instability growth rate allows detecting parameter regions where ionic conductivity, through modulated waves, in the MT network is likely to occur. Dissipative bright-bright pulse soliton solutions for the nonlinearly coupled cubic CGL equations are constructed using a modified Hirota's bilinear method. A generalized coupled mode for the discrete ionic signal is proposed and used as the initial condition to be propagated in the nonlinear electrical transmission lattice of MT under direct numerical simulations. The ionic pulse transfer, mediated by the nonlinear interaction between oscillatory modes, is manifested by the formation of trains of modulated waves whose behaviors depend on the right choice of system parameters. Those results theoretically suggest that coupled ionic signals may facilitate information processing involving MTs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112446
JournalChaos, Solitons and Fractals
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • General Mathematics
  • Mathematical Physics
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Applied Mathematics


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