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What is the fastest way of finding a randomly hidden target? Experimental observations reveal that the search behavior of foraging animals is generally intermittent: active search phases randomly alternate with phases of fast ballistic motion. Here, we study the efficiency of this two state search strategy by calculating analytically the mean first passage(More)
Gene regulation relies on transcription factors (TFs) exploring the nucleus searching their targets. So far, most studies have focused on how fast TFs diffuse, underestimating the role of nuclear architecture. We implemented a single-molecule tracking assay to determine TFs dynamics. We found that c-Myc is a global explorer of the nucleus. In contrast, the(More)
Many cellular processes require a polarization axis which generally initially emerges as an inhomogeneous distribution of molecular markers in the cell. We present a simple analytical model of a general mechanism of cell polarization taking into account the positive feedback due to the coupled dynamics of molecular markers and cytoskeleton filaments. We(More)
How long does it take a random walker to reach a given target point? This quantity, known as a first-passage time (FPT), has led to a growing number of theoretical investigations over the past decade. The importance of FPTs originates from the crucial role played by first encounter properties in various real situations, including transport in disordered(More)
We present a model of cell motility generated by actomyosin contraction of the cell cortex. We identify, analytically, dynamical instabilities of the cortex and show that they yield steady-state cortical flows, which, in turn, can induce cell migration in three-dimensional environments. This mechanism relies on the regulation of contractility by myosin,(More)
The restriction endonuclease EcoRV can rapidly locate a short recognition site within long non-cognate DNA using 'facilitated diffusion'. This process has long been attributed to a sliding mechanism, in which the enzyme first binds to the DNA via nonspecific interaction and then moves along the DNA by 1D diffusion. Recent studies, however, provided evidence(More)
It is widely recognized that the cleaving rate of a restriction enzyme on target DNA sequences is several orders-of-magnitude faster than the maximal one calculated from the diffusion-limited theory. It was therefore commonly assumed that the target site interaction of a restriction enzyme with DNA has to occur via two steps: one-dimensional diffusion along(More)
We consider a minimal model of persistent random searcher with a short range memory. We calculate exactly for such a searcher the mean first-passage time to a target in a bounded domain and find that it admits a nontrivial minimum as function of the persistence length. This reveals an optimal search strategy which differs markedly from the simple ballistic(More)
Subdiffusive motion of tracer particles in complex crowded environments, such as biological cells, has been shown to be widespread. This deviation from Brownian motion is usually characterized by a sublinear time dependence of the mean square displacement (MSD). However, subdiffusive behavior can stem from different microscopic scenarios that cannot be(More)
Problems of search and recognition appear over different scales in biological systems. In this review we focus on the challenges posed by interactions between proteins, in particular transcription factors, and DNA and possible mechanisms which allow for fast and selective target location. Initially we argue that DNA-binding proteins can be classified,(More)