Motoring Along Filamentous Tracks: Rules, Regulations and Control of Traffic in Living Cells
Prof. Debashish Chowdhury
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (JSPS Invitational Fellow at the University of Tokyo)
Molecular motors are macromolecular complexes that move unidirectionally, on the average, along respective filamentous tracks in a step-by-step manner. However, the stepping of a motor is intrinsically stochastic.
Often many motors move along a single filament performing the same biological function and their collective movement, at least superficially, resembles vehicular traffic. Totally Asymmetric Simple Exclusion Process (TASEP) is one of the simplest models of nonequilibrium systems of self-propelled interacting particles. In the last 25 years it has served as the minimal model of vehicular traffic. In recent years various extensions of TASEP have found interesting applications in theoretical modeling of traffic-like collective phenomena in biological systems. The results of our TASEP-based models provide insight into the mechanisms through which living cells regulate and control molecular motor traffic.
I'll present some of our recent works which address fundamental questions on the rules of molecular motor traffic from the perspective of interdisciplinary research that involves statistical physics, physical chemistry, Molecular cell biology, operations research and traffic engineering.