Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 248102 (2013) [5 pages]

Chemical Sensing by Nonequilibrium Cooperative Receptors

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Monica Skoge1, Sahin Naqvi2,*, Yigal Meir3, and Ned S. Wingreen2,†
1Department of Biology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0319, USA
2Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA
3Department of Physics, Ben-Gurion University, Beer Sheva 84105, Israel

Received 16 December 2012; published 11 June 2013

Cooperativity arising from local interactions in equilibrium receptor systems provides gain, but does not increase sensory performance, as measured by the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) due to a fundamental tradeoff between gain and intrinsic noise. Here we allow sensing to be a nonequilibrium process and show that energy dissipation cannot circumvent the fundamental tradeoff, so that the SNR is still optimal for independent receptors. For systems requiring high gain, nonequilibrium 2D-coupled receptors maximize the SNR, revealing a new design principle for biological sensors.

© 2013 American Physical Society

87.16.Xa, 87.18.Tt, 87.18.Vf

*Present address: Department of Biology, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.

Corresponding author.