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Mathematical models of polymerization ratchet in cell and molecular biology.


Speaker: Alex Mogilner, UCD
Location: 693 Kerr
Start time: Fri, Oct 2 1998, 4:10PM

There is a number of situations in biological systems when force generated by growth of linear polymers is of vital importance. I will describe briefly the following three examples:
  1. polymerization of RNA strand pushes forward the protein RNA Polymerase in the course of transcription;
  2. polymerization of actin filament causes protrusion of the leading edge of crawling cells;
  3. polymerization of microtubules is involved in the process of cell division.
In order to compute the polymerization rates achieved and forces generated one has to consider stochastic process of assembly of monomers onto the polymer's tip involved into Brownian motion. I will derive corresponding differential-difference Fokker-Planck equations and talk about their perturbation and numerical analyses, results and relevance to biology. In the end I will make a pitch about the whole range of my scientific activities during my 3 years in UC Davis.