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Analytical Modeling of the Ion Number Fluctuations in Biological Ion Channels

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Ion channels are transmembrane proteins that regulate and maintain the ionic concentrations across the cell membrane. Modeling the atomistic-level ionic flux through these channels is crucial for the understandingof several neurological diseases and related pharmaceutical discoveries. Experimental techniques now provide information about the channel's physical structure which helps in developing realisticion transport models. Ions entering a channel follow different trajectories as they traverse the channel; each associated with a certain probability. Quantities that explain these trajectories are the translocation and return probabilities, average lifetime, and spectral density (an experimentally accessible parameter) of ion number fluctuations. Theoretical analysis of ion transport has been limited to low-resolution continuum diffusion-based or kinetic-based models. Such analytical models fail to include key factors affecting the ionic conduction. In this paper, we extend previous models by an electro-diffusion model incorporating the effects of electric field, energy barrier, and rate-limited association/dissociation of ions with surface charges inside the channel. Survival probability and spectral density are derived from the analytical model.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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