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Phys Biol. 2013 Oct;10(5):056014. doi: 10.1088/1478-3975/10/5/056014. Epub 2013 Oct 8.

The biophysical model for accuracy of cellular sensing spatial gradients of multiple chemoattractants.

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  • 1Chinese Academy of Sciences-Max Plank Society Partner Institute for Computational Biology Shanghai Institute for Biological Sciences, Shanghai 200031, People's Republic of China. Department of Chemistry, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA.


Spatial gradients of surrounding chemoattractants are the key factors in determining the directionality of eukaryotic cell movement. Thus, it is important for cells to accurately measure the spatial gradients of surrounding chemoattractants. Here, we study the precision of sensing the spatial gradients of multiple chemoattractants using cooperative receptor clusters. Cooperative receptors on cells are modeled as an Ising chain of Monod-Wyman-Changeux clusters subject to multiple chemical-gradient fields to study the physical limits of multiple chemoattractants spatial gradients sensing. We found that eukaryotic cells cannot sense each chemoattractant gradient individually. Instead, cells can only sense a weighted sum of surrounding chemical gradients. Moreover, the precision of sensing one chemical gradient is signicantly affected by coexisting chemoattractant concentrations. These findings can provide a further insight into the role of chemoattractants in immune response and help develop novel treatments for inflammatory diseases.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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