Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Electric charge disorder: A key to biological order?

Date:
April 30, 2012
Source:
Springer
Summary:
Researchers have shown how small random patches of disordered, frozen electric charges can make a difference when they are scattered on surfaces that are overall neutral. These charges induce a twisting force that is strong enough to be felt as far as nanometers or even micrometers away. These results could help scientists to understand phenomena that occur on surfaces such as those of large biological molecules.

Strong attraction that arises between biological objects with random patches of electric charge on an otherwise neutral surface may partly explain pattern recognition in biology.

Theoretical physicist Ali Naji from the IPM in Tehran and the University of Cambridge, UK, and his colleagues have shown how small random patches of disordered, frozen electric charges can make a difference when they are scattered on surfaces that are overall neutral. These charges induce a twisting force that is strong enough to be felt as far as nanometers or even micrometers away.

These results, about to be published in EPJ Eš, could help to understand phenomena that occurr on surfaces such as those of large biological molecules.

To measure the strength of the twist that acts on a randomly charged surface, the authors used a sphere which was mounted like a spinning top next to a randomly charged flat substrate. Because small amounts of positive and negative charges were spread in a disordered mosaic throughout both surfaces, they induced transient attractive or repulsive twisting forces. This was regardless of the surfaces' overall electrical neutrality, thus making the sphere spin.

Using statistical averaging methods, the authors studied the fluctuations of these forces. The authors found that the twisting force, created by virtue of the disorder of surface charges, is expected to be much stronger and far-reaching than the remnant forces. The latter are always present, even in the absence of charge disorder, and are due to fluctuations at the atomic and molecular levels.

This could have implications for large randomly charged surfaces such as biological macromolecules, which may be exposed to strong electrostatic forces, inducing attraction and/or repulsion, even if they carry no overall net charge. For instance, this phenomenon could partly explain biological pattern recognition, such as lock and key phenomena.

In that context, the twisting force could explain the attraction between biological macromolecules that lead to pre-alignment prior to their interaction.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ali Naji, Jalal Sarabadani, David S. Dean, Rudolf Podgornik. Sample-to-sample torque fluctuations in a system of coaxial randomly charged surfaces. The European Physical Journal E, 2012; 35 (3) DOI: 10.1140/epje/i2012-12024-y

Cite This Page:

Springer. "Electric charge disorder: A key to biological order?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120430105356.htm>.
Springer. (2012, April 30). Electric charge disorder: A key to biological order?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120430105356.htm
Springer. "Electric charge disorder: A key to biological order?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120430105356.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) — Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) — Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) — Chinese researchers have expanded on Cold War-era tech and are closer to building a submarine that could reach the speed of sound. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) — An acute coal shortage is likely to be aggravated as India's supreme court declared government coal allocations illegal, says Breakingviews' Peter Thal Larsen. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins