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Biophys J. 1991 Sep; 60(3): 671–678.
PMCID: PMC1260110

Time dependent rate of diffusion-influenced ligand binding to receptors on cell surfaces.


The theory of the kinetics of binding of ligands to a sphere partially covered by receptors is extended to provide the full time dependence of the reactive flux. The ligands diffuse to the receptors; the receptors are either fully or partially absorbing. The total flux into the sphere with many receptors is expressed analytically in terms of the flux into a single isolated receptor on the sphere. At steady state, the Berg-Purcell formula is generalized to the case where the binding to a single receptor is only partially diffusion controlled. At short times, the receptors behave independently and the total flux is the sum of the fluxes to the isolated receptors.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Berg HC, Purcell EM. Physics of chemoreception. Biophys J. 1977 Nov;20(2):193–219. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Shoup D, Szabo A. Role of diffusion in ligand binding to macromolecules and cell-bound receptors. Biophys J. 1982 Oct;40(1):33–39. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Zwanzig R. Diffusion-controlled ligand binding to spheres partially covered by receptors: an effective medium treatment. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990 Aug;87(15):5856–5857. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Geurts BJ, Wiegel FW. Time-dependent ligand current into a saturating cell performing chemoreception. Biophys Chem. 1988 Sep;31(3):317–324. [PubMed]

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