Realistic models of biological motion

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13 Citations (Scopus)


The origin of biological motion can be traced back to the function of molecular motor proteins. Cytoplasmic dynein and kinesin transport organelles within our cells moving along a polymeric filament, the microtubule. The motion of the myosin molecules along the actin filaments is responsible for the contraction of our muscles. Recent experiments have been able to reveal some important features of the motion of individual motor proteins, and a new statistical physical description - often referred to as "thermal ratchets" - has been developed for the description of motion of these molecules. In this approach, the motors are considered as Brownian particles moving along one-dimensional periodic structures due to the effect of nonequilibrium fluctuations. Assuming specific types of interaction between the particles the models can be made more realistic. We have been able to give analytic solutions for our model of kinesin with elastically coupled Brownian heads and for the motion of the myosin filament where the motors are connected through a rigid backbone. Our theoretical predictions are in a very good agreement with the various experimental results. In addition, we have considered the effects arising as a result of interaction among a large number of molecular motors, leading to a number of novel cooperative transport phenomena.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-406
Number of pages10
JournalPhysica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2 1998


  • Molecular motors
  • Thermal ratchets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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