24,921 research outputs found

    Pattern formation at cellular membranes by phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of proteins

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    We consider a classical model on activation of proteins, based in two reciprocal enzymatic biochemical reactions. The combination of phosphorylation and dephosphorylation reactions of proteins is a well established mechanism for protein activation in cell signalling. We introduce different affinity of the two versions of the proteins to the membrane and to the cytoplasm. The difference in the diffusion coefficient at the membrane and in the cytoplasm together with the high density of proteins at the membrane which reduces the accessible area produces domain formation of protein concentration at the membrane. We differentiate two mechanisms responsible for the pattern formation inside of living cells and discuss the consequences of these models for cell biology.Peer ReviewedPreprin

    Universal features of cell polarization processes

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    Cell polarization plays a central role in the development of complex organisms. It has been recently shown that cell polarization may follow from the proximity to a phase separation instability in a bistable network of chemical reactions. An example which has been thoroughly studied is the formation of signaling domains during eukaryotic chemotaxis. In this case, the process of domain growth may be described by the use of a constrained time-dependent Landau-Ginzburg equation, admitting scale-invariant solutions {\textit{\`a la}} Lifshitz and Slyozov. The constraint results here from a mechanism of fast cycling of molecules between a cytosolic, inactive state and a membrane-bound, active state, which dynamically tunes the chemical potential for membrane binding to a value corresponding to the coexistence of different phases on the cell membrane. We provide here a universal description of this process both in the presence and absence of a gradient in the external activation field. Universal power laws are derived for the time needed for the cell to polarize in a chemotactic gradient, and for the value of the smallest detectable gradient. We also describe a concrete realization of our scheme based on the analysis of available biochemical and biophysical data.Comment: Submitted to Journal of Statistical Mechanics -Theory and Experiment

    Information processing in biological molecular machines

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    Biological molecular machines are bi-functional enzymes that simultaneously catalyze two processes: one providing free energy and second accepting it. Recent studies show that most protein enzymes have a rich dynamics of stochastic transitions between the multitude of conformational substates that make up their native state. It often manifests in fluctuating rates of the catalyzed processes and the presence of short-term memory resulting from the preference of selected conformations. For any stochastic protein machine dynamics we proved a generalized fluctuation theorem that leads to the extension of the second law of thermodynamics. Using them to interpret the results of random walk on a complex model network, we showed the possibility of reducing free energy dissipation at the expense of creating some information stored in memory. The subject of our analysis is the time course of the catalyzed processes expressed by sequences of jumps at random moments of time. Since similar signals can be registered in the observation of real systems, all theses of the paper are open to experimental verification. From a broader physical point of view, the division of free energy into the operation and organization energies is worth emphasizing. Information can be assigned a physical meaning of a change in the value of both these functions of state.Comment: The manuscript contains 14 pages, 7 figure

    A variational approach to the stochastic aspects of cellular signal transduction

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    Cellular signaling networks have evolved to cope with intrinsic fluctuations, coming from the small numbers of constituents, and the environmental noise. Stochastic chemical kinetics equations govern the way biochemical networks process noisy signals. The essential difficulty associated with the master equation approach to solving the stochastic chemical kinetics problem is the enormous number of ordinary differential equations involved. In this work, we show how to achieve tremendous reduction in the dimensionality of specific reaction cascade dynamics by solving variationally an equivalent quantum field theoretic formulation of stochastic chemical kinetics. The present formulation avoids cumbersome commutator computations in the derivation of evolution equations, making more transparent the physical significance of the variational method. We propose novel time-dependent basis functions which work well over a wide range of rate parameters. We apply the new basis functions to describe stochastic signaling in several enzymatic cascades and compare the results so obtained with those from alternative solution techniques. The variational ansatz gives probability distributions that agree well with the exact ones, even when fluctuations are large and discreteness and nonlinearity are important. A numerical implementation of our technique is many orders of magnitude more efficient computationally compared with the traditional Monte Carlo simulation algorithms or the Langevin simulations.Comment: 15 pages, 11 figure

    The interplay of intrinsic and extrinsic bounded noises in genetic networks

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    After being considered as a nuisance to be filtered out, it became recently clear that biochemical noise plays a complex role, often fully functional, for a genetic network. The influence of intrinsic and extrinsic noises on genetic networks has intensively been investigated in last ten years, though contributions on the co-presence of both are sparse. Extrinsic noise is usually modeled as an unbounded white or colored gaussian stochastic process, even though realistic stochastic perturbations are clearly bounded. In this paper we consider Gillespie-like stochastic models of nonlinear networks, i.e. the intrinsic noise, where the model jump rates are affected by colored bounded extrinsic noises synthesized by a suitable biochemical state-dependent Langevin system. These systems are described by a master equation, and a simulation algorithm to analyze them is derived. This new modeling paradigm should enlarge the class of systems amenable at modeling. We investigated the influence of both amplitude and autocorrelation time of a extrinsic Sine-Wiener noise on: (i)(i) the Michaelis-Menten approximation of noisy enzymatic reactions, which we show to be applicable also in co-presence of both intrinsic and extrinsic noise, (ii)(ii) a model of enzymatic futile cycle and (iii)(iii) a genetic toggle switch. In (ii)(ii) and (iii)(iii) we show that the presence of a bounded extrinsic noise induces qualitative modifications in the probability densities of the involved chemicals, where new modes emerge, thus suggesting the possibile functional role of bounded noises
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