Author(s): Aquino G, Endres RG
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Abstract The physical limit with which a cell senses external ligand concentration corresponds to the perfect absorber, where all ligand particles are absorbed and overcounting of same ligand particles does not occur. Here, we analyze how the lateral diffusion of receptors on the cell membrane affects the accuracy of sensing ligand concentration. Specifically, we connect our modeling to neurotransmission in neural synapses where the diffusion of glutamate receptors is already known to refresh synaptic connections. We find that receptor diffusion indeed increases the accuracy of sensing for both the glutamate α-Amino-3-hydroxy-5-Methyl-4-isoxazolePropionic Acid (AMPA) and N-Methyl-D-aspartic Acid (NMDA) receptor, although the NMDA receptor is overall much noisier. We propose that the difference in accuracy of sensing of the two receptors can be linked to their different roles in neurotransmission. Specifically, the high accuracy in sensing glutamate is essential for the AMPA receptor to start membrane depolarization, while the NMDA receptor is believed to work in a second stage as a coincidence detector, involved in long-term potentiation and memory.
This article was published in Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys
and referenced in Journal of Computer Science & Systems Biology