Biological transport processes and space dimension

W. Nadler, D. L. Stein

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We discuss the generic time behavior of reaction-diffusion processes capable of modeling various types of biological transport processes, such as ligand migration in proteins and gating fluctuations in ion channel proteins. The main observable in these two cases, the fraction of unbound ligands and the probability of finding the channel in the closed state, respectively, exhibits an algebraic t-1/2 decay at intermediate times, followed by an exponential cutoff. We provide a simple framework for understanding these observations and explain their ubiquity by showing that these qualitative results are independent of space dimension. We also derive an experimental criterion to distinguish between a one-dimensional process and one whose effective dimension is higher.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)6750-6754
    Number of pages5
    JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
    Issue number15
    StatePublished - Aug 1 1991


    • Conformational fluctuations
    • Ion channel fluctuations
    • Ligand migration
    • Protein internal motions
    • Reaction-diffusion processes

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General


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