Europhys. Lett.
Volume 66, Number 1, April 2004
Page(s) 90 - 96
Section Condensed matter: structure, mechanical and thermal properties
Published online 01 March 2004
Europhys. Lett., 66 (1) , pp. 90-96 (2004)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2003-10155-6

Phase transitions in systems with two species of molecular motors

S. Klumpp and R. Lipowsky

Max-Planck-Institut für Kolloid- und Grenzflächenforschung 14424 Potsdam, Germany

(Received 26 November 2003; accepted in final form 4 February 2004)

Systems with two species of active molecular motors moving on (cytoskeletal) filaments into opposite directions are studied theoretically using driven lattice gas models. The motors can unbind from and rebind to the filaments. Two motors are more likely to bind on adjacent filament sites if they belong to the same species. These systems exhibit i) continuous phase transitions towards states with spontaneously broken symmetry, where one motor species is largely excluded from the filament, ii) hysteresis of the total current upon varying the relative concentrations of the two motor species, and iii) coexistence of traffic lanes with opposite directionality in multi-filament systems. These theoretical predictions should be experimentally accessible.

64.60.Cn - Order-isorder transformations; statistical mechanics of model systems.
82.70.-y - Disperse systems; complex fluids.
87.16.Uv - Active transport processes; ion channels.

© EDP Sciences 2004