J.M.A.M. Kusters, J.M. Cortes, W.P.M. van Meerwijk, D.L. Ypey, A.P.R. Theuvenet and C.C.A.M. Gielen. Hysteresis and bi-stability by an interplay of calcium oscillations and action potential firing. Physical Review Letters 98: 098107, 2007. Nomination of PRL HighLights in the Magazine The Biological Physicist 7, April 2007 [pdf]
Many cells reveal oscillatory behavior. Some cells reveal action-potential firing resulting from Hodgkin-Huxley (HH) type dynamics of ion channels in the cell membrane. Another type of oscillation relates to periodic inositol triphospate (IP3)-mediated calcium transients in the cytosol. In this study we present a bifurcation analysis of a cell with an excitable membrane and an IP3-mediated intracellular calcium oscillator. With IP3 concentration as a control parameter the model reveals a complex, rich spectrum of both stable and unstable solutions with hysteresis corresponding to experimental data. Our results reveal the emergence of complex behavior due to interactions between subcomponents with a relatively simple dynamical behavior.