Role of the particle’s stepping cycle in an asymmetric exclusion process: a model of mRNA translation

L Ciandrini, I Stansfield, M C Romano

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Abstract

Messenger RNA translation is often studied by means of statistical-mechanical models based on the asymmetric simple exclusion process (ASEP), which considers hopping particles (the ribosomes) on a lattice (the polynucleotide chain). In this work we extend this class of models and consider the two fundamental steps of the ribosome’s biochemical cycle following a coarse-grained perspective. In order to achieve a better understanding of the underlying biological processes and compare the theoretical predictions with experimental results, we provide a description lying between the minimal ASEP-like models and the more detailed models, which are analytically hard to treat. We use a mean-field approach to study the dynamics of particles associated with an internal stepping cycle. In this framework it is possible to characterize analytically different phases of the system (high density, low density or maximal current phase). Crucially, we show that the transitions between these different phases occur at different parameter values than the equivalent transitions in a standard ASEP, indicating the importance of including the two fundamental steps of the ribosome’s biochemical cycle into the model.
Original languageEnglish
Article number051904
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Review. E, Statistical, Nonlinear and Soft Matter Physics
Volume81
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2010

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