## 530 Physik

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Our every-day experience is connected with different acoustical noise or music. Usually noise plays the role of nuisance in any communication and destroys any order in a system. Similar optical effects are known: strong snowing or raining decreases quality of a vision. In contrast to these situations noisy stimuli can also play a positive constructive role, e.g. a driver can be more concentrated in a presence of quiet music. Transmission processes in neural systems are of especial interest from this point of view: excitation or information will be transmitted only in the case if a signal overcomes a threshold. Dr. Alexei Zaikin from the Potsdam University studies noise-induced phenomena in nonlinear systems from a theoretical point of view. Especially he is interested in the processes, in which noise influences the behaviour of a system twice: if the intensity of noise is over a threshold, it induces some regular structure that will be synchronized with the behaviour of neighbour elements. To obtain such a system with a threshold one needs one more noise source. Dr. Zaikin has analyzed further examples of such doubly stochastic effects and developed a concept of these new phenomena. These theoretical findings are important, because such processes can play a crucial role in neurophysics, technical communication devices and living sciences.

Proteins are chain molecules built from amino acids. The precise sequence of the 20 different types of amino acids in a protein chain defines into which structure a protein folds, and the three-dimensional structure in turn specifies the biological function of the protein. The reliable folding of proteins is a prerequisite for their robust function. Misfolding can lead to protein aggregates that cause severe diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, or the variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Small single-domain proteins often fold without experimentally detectable metastable intermediate states. The folding dynamics of these proteins is thought to be governed by a single transition-state barrier between the unfolded and the folded state. The transition state is highly instable and cannot be observed directly. However, mutations in which a single amino acid of the protein is substituted by another one can provide indirect access. The mutations slightly change the transition-state barrier and, thus, the folding and unfolding times of the protein. The central question is how to reconstruct the transition state from the observed changes in folding times. In this habilitation thesis, a novel method to extract structural information on transition states from mutational data is presented. The method is based on (i) the cooperativity of structural elements such as alpha-helices and beta-hairpins, and (ii) on splitting up mutation-induced free-energy changes into components for these elements. By fitting few parameters, the method reveals the degree of structure formation of alpha-helices and beta-hairpins in the transition state. In addition, it is shown in this thesis that the folding routes of small single-domain proteins are dominated by loop-closure dependencies between the structural elements.

My thesis is concerned with several new noise-induced phenomena in excitable neural models, especially those with FitzHugh-Nagumo dynamics. In these effects the fluctuations intrinsically present in any complex neural network play a constructive role and improve functionality. I report the occurrence of Vibrational Resonance in excitable systems. Both in an excitable electronic circuit and in the FitzHugh-Nagumo model, I show that an optimal amplitude of high-frequency driving enhances the response of an excitable system to a low-frequency signal. Additionally, the influence of additive noise and the interplay between Stochastic and Vibrational Resonance is analyzed. Further, I study systems which combine both oscillatory and excitable properties, and hence intrinsically possess two internal frequencies. I show that in such a system the effect of Stochastic Resonance can be amplified by an additional high-frequency signal which is in resonance with the oscillatory frequency. This amplification needs much lower noise intensities than for conventional Stochastic Resonance in excitable systems. I study frequency selectivity in noise-induced subthreshold signal processing in a system with many noise-supported stochastic attractors. I show that the response of the coupled elements at different noise levels can be significantly enhanced or reduced by forcing some elements into resonance with these new frequencies which correspond to appropriate phase-relations. A noise-induced phase transition to excitability is reported in oscillatory media with FitzHugh-Nagumo dynamics. This transition takes place via noise-induced stabilization of a deterministically unstable fixed point of the local dynamics, while the overall phase-space structure of the system is maintained. The joint action of coupling and noise leads to a different type of phase transition and results in a stabilization of the system. The resulting noise-induced regime is shown to display properties characteristic of excitable media, such as Stochastic Resonance and wave propagation. This effect thus allows the transmission of signals through an otherwise globally oscillating medium. In particular, these theoretical findings suggest a possible mechanism for suppressing undesirable global oscillations in neural networks (which are usually characteristic of abnormal medical conditions such as Parkinson′s disease or epilepsy), using the action of noise to restore excitability, which is the normal state of neuronal ensembles.

Actin is one of the most abundant and highly conserved proteins in eukaryotic cells. The globular protein assembles into long filaments, which form a variety of different networks within the cytoskeleton. The dynamic reorganization of these networks - which is pivotal for cell motility, cell adhesion, and cell division - is based on cycles of polymerization (assembly) and depolymerization (disassembly) of actin filaments. Actin binds ATP and within the filament, actin-bound ATP is hydrolyzed into ADP on a time scale of a few minutes. As ADP-actin dissociates faster from the filament ends than ATP-actin, the filament becomes less stable as it grows older. Recent single filament experiments, where abrupt dynamical changes during filament depolymerization have been observed, suggest the opposite behavior, however, namely that the actin filaments become increasingly stable with time. Several mechanisms for this stabilization have been proposed, ranging from structural transitions of the whole filament to surface attachment of the filament ends. The key issue of this thesis is to elucidate the unexpected interruptions of depolymerization by a combination of experimental and theoretical studies. In new depolymerization experiments on single filaments, we confirm that filaments cease to shrink in an abrupt manner and determine the time from the initiation of depolymerization until the occurrence of the first interruption. This duration differs from filament to filament and represents a stochastic variable. We consider various hypothetical mechanisms that may cause the observed interruptions. These mechanisms cannot be distinguished directly, but they give rise to distinct distributions of the time until the first interruption, which we compute by modeling the underlying stochastic processes. A comparison with the measured distribution reveals that the sudden truncation of the shrinkage process neither arises from blocking of the ends nor from a collective transition of the whole filament. Instead, we predict a local transition process occurring at random sites within the filament. The combination of additional experimental findings and our theoretical approach confirms the notion of a local transition mechanism and identifies the transition as the photo-induced formation of an actin dimer within the filaments. Unlabeled actin filaments do not exhibit pauses, which implies that, in vivo, older filaments become destabilized by ATP hydrolysis. This destabilization can be identified with an acceleration of the depolymerization prior to the interruption. In the final part of this thesis, we theoretically analyze this acceleration to infer the mechanism of ATP hydrolysis. We show that the rate of ATP hydrolysis is constant within the filament, corresponding to a random as opposed to a vectorial hydrolysis mechanism.

In biological cells, the long-range intracellular traffic is powered by molecular motors which transport various cargos along microtubule filaments. The microtubules possess an intrinsic direction, having a 'plus' and a 'minus' end. Some molecular motors such as cytoplasmic dynein walk to the minus end, while others such as conventional kinesin walk to the plus end. Cells typically have an isopolar microtubule network. This is most pronounced in neuronal axons or fungal hyphae. In these long and thin tubular protrusions, the microtubules are arranged parallel to the tube axis with the minus ends pointing to the cell body and the plus ends pointing to the tip. In such a tubular compartment, transport by only one motor type leads to 'motor traffic jams'. Kinesin-driven cargos accumulate at the tip, while dynein-driven cargos accumulate near the cell body. We identify the relevant length scales and characterize the jamming behaviour in these tube geometries by using both Monte Carlo simulations and analytical calculations. A possible solution to this jamming problem is to transport cargos with a team of plus and a team of minus motors simultaneously, so that they can travel bidirectionally, as observed in cells. The presumably simplest mechanism for such bidirectional transport is provided by a 'tug-of-war' between the two motor teams which is governed by mechanical motor interactions only. We develop a stochastic tug-of-war model and study it with numerical and analytical calculations. We find a surprisingly complex cooperative motility behaviour. We compare our results to the available experimental data, which we reproduce qualitatively and quantitatively.

We define and study in detail utraslow scaled Brownian motion (USBM) characterized by a time dependent diffusion coefficient of the form . For unconfined motion the mean squared displacement (MSD) of USBM exhibits an ultraslow, logarithmic growth as function of time, in contrast to the conventional scaled Brownian motion. In a harmonic potential the MSD of USBM does not saturate but asymptotically decays inverse-proportionally to time, reflecting the highly non-stationary character of the process. We show that the process is weakly non-ergodic in the sense that the time averaged MSD does not converge to the regular MSD even at long times, and for unconfined motion combines a linear lag time dependence with a logarithmic term. The weakly non-ergodic behaviour is quantified in terms of the ergodicity breaking parameter. The USBM process is also shown to be ageing: observables of the system depend on the time gap between initiation of the test particle and start of the measurement of its motion. Our analytical results are shown to agree excellently with extensive computer simulations.

Cargo transport by molecular motors is ubiquitous in all eukaryotic cells and is typically driven cooperatively by several molecular motors, which may belong to one or several motor species like kinesin, dynein or myosin. These motor proteins transport cargos such as RNAs, protein complexes or organelles along filaments, from which they unbind after a finite run length. Understanding how these motors interact and how their movements are coordinated and regulated is a central and challenging problem in studies of intracellular transport. In this thesis, we describe a general theoretical framework for the analysis of such transport processes, which enables us to explain the behavior of intracellular cargos based on the transport properties of individual motors and their interactions. Motivated by recent in vitro experiments, we address two different modes of transport: unidirectional transport by two identical motors and cooperative transport by actively walking and passively diffusing motors. The case of cargo transport by two identical motors involves an elastic coupling between the motors that can reduce the motors’ velocity and/or the binding time to the filament. We show that this elastic coupling leads, in general, to four distinct transport regimes. In addition to a weak coupling regime, kinesin and dynein motors are found to exhibit a strong coupling and an enhanced unbinding regime, whereas myosin motors are predicted to attain a reduced velocity regime. All of these regimes, which we derive both by analytical calculations and by general time scale arguments, can be explored experimentally by varying the elastic coupling strength. In addition, using the time scale arguments, we explain why previous studies came to different conclusions about the effect and relevance of motor-motor interference. In this way, our theory provides a general and unifying framework for understanding the dynamical behavior of two elastically coupled molecular motors. The second mode of transport studied in this thesis is cargo transport by actively pulling and passively diffusing motors. Although these passive motors do not participate in active transport, they strongly enhance the overall cargo run length. When an active motor unbinds, the cargo is still tethered to the filament by the passive motors, giving the unbound motor the chance to rebind and continue its active walk. We develop a stochastic description for such cooperative behavior and explicitly derive the enhanced run length for a cargo transported by one actively pulling and one passively diffusing motor. We generalize our description to the case of several pulling and diffusing motors and find an exponential increase of the run length with the number of involved motors.

Subject of this work is the investigation of universal scaling laws which are observed in coupled chaotic systems. Progress is made by replacing the chaotic fluctuations in the perturbation dynamics by stochastic processes. First, a continuous-time stochastic model for weakly coupled chaotic systems is introduced to study the scaling of the Lyapunov exponents with the coupling strength (coupling sensitivity of chaos). By means of the the Fokker-Planck equation scaling relations are derived, which are confirmed by results of numerical simulations. Next, the new effect of avoided crossing of Lyapunov exponents of weakly coupled disordered chaotic systems is described, which is qualitatively similar to the energy level repulsion in quantum systems. Using the scaling relations obtained for the coupling sensitivity of chaos, an asymptotic expression for the distribution function of small spacings between Lyapunov exponents is derived and compared with results of numerical simulations. Finally, the synchronization transition in strongly coupled spatially extended chaotic systems is shown to resemble a continuous phase transition, with the coupling strength and the synchronization error as control and order parameter, respectively. Using results of numerical simulations and theoretical considerations in terms of a multiplicative noise partial differential equation, the universality classes of the observed two types of transition are determined (Kardar-Parisi-Zhang equation with saturating term, directed percolation).