Microfabrication technique was used to construct a model system with a living cell of plasmodium of the true slime mold, Physarum polycephalum, a living coupled oscillator system. Its parameters can be systematically controlled as in computer simulations, so that results are directly comparable to those of general mathematical models. As the first step, we investigated responses in oscillatory cells, the oscillators of the plasmodium, to periodic stimuli by temperature changes to elucidate characteristics of the cells as nonlinear systems whose internal dynamics are unknown because of their complexity. We observed that the forced oscillator of the plasmodium show 1:1, 2:1, 3:1 frequency locking inside so-called Arnold tongues regions as well as in other nonlinear systems such as chemical systems and other biological systems. In addition, we found spontaneous switching behavior from certain frequency locking states to other states, even under certain fixed parameters. This technique can be applied to more complex systems with multiple elements, such as coupled oscillator systems, and would be useful to investigate complicated phenomena in biological systems such as information processing.
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