Nonequilibrium thermodynamics and nonlinear kinetics in a cellular signaling switch

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We develop a rigorous nonequilibrium thermodynamics for an open system of nonlinear biochemical reactions responsible for cell signal processing. We show that the quality of the biological switch consisting of a phosphorylation- dephosphorylation cycle, such as those in protein kinase cascade, is controlled by the available intracellular free energy from the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) hydrolysis in vivo: ΔG = kBT ln([ATP]/Keq[ADP]), where Keq is the equilibrium constant. The model reveals the correlation between the performance of the switch and the level of ΔC. The result demonstrates the importance of nonequilibrium thermodynamics in analyzing biological information processing, provides its energetic cost, establishes an interplay between signal transduction and energy metabolism in cells, and suggests a biological function for phosphoenergetics in the ubiquitous phosphorylation signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number028101
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 21 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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