Mar 2, 2016

Exact length distribution of filamentous structures assembled from a finite pool of subunits

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
David Harbage, Jane Kondev


Self-assembling filamentous structures made of protein subunits are ubiquitous in cell biology. These structures are often highly dynamic, with subunits in a continuous state of flux, binding to and falling off the filament. In spite of this constant turnover of their molecular parts, many cellular structures seem to maintain a well-defined size over time, which is often required for their proper functioning. One widely discussed mechanism of size regulation involves the cell maintaining a finite pool of protein subunits available for assembly. This finite pool mechanism can control the length of a single filament by having assembly proceed until the pool of free subunits is depleted to the point when assembly and disassembly are balanced. Still, this leaves open the question whether the same mechanism can provide size control for multiple filamentous structures that are assembled from a common pool of protein subunits, as is often the case in cells. We address this question by solving the steady-state master equation governing the stochastic assembly and disassembly of multi-filament structures made from a shared, finite pool of subunits. We find that, while the total number of subunits within a multi-filament structure is wel...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Regulation of Biological Process
Biochemical Turnover
Cytoskeletal Filaments
Cellular Structures
Research Study
Molecular Assembly/Self Assembly

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