Detection of channel proximity by nanoparticle-assisted delaying of toxin binding; a combined patch-clamp and flow cytometric energy transfer study
Recent observations in the field of signal transduction suggest that where a protein is located within a cell can be as important as its activity measured in solution for activation of its downstream pathway. The physical organization of the cell can provide an additional layer of control upon the chemical reaction networks that govern ultimately perceived signals. Using the cytosol and plasma membrane as relevant compartmental distinctions, we analyze the effect of relocation on the rate of association with a membrane-associated target. We quantify this effect as an enhancement factor E in terms of measurable parameters such as the number of available targets, molecular diffusivities, and intrinsic reaction rate constants. We then employ two simple yet relevant example models to illustrate how relocation can affect the dynamics of signal transduction pathways. The temporal profiles and phase behavior of these models are investigated. We also relate experimentally observable aspects of signal transduction such as peak activation and the relative time scales of stimulus and response to quantitative aspects of the relocation mechanisms in our models. In our example schemes, nearly complete relocation of the cytosolic species in the signaling pair is required to generate meaningful activation of the model pathways when the association rate enhancement factor E is as low as 10; when E is 100 or greater, only a small fraction of the protein must be relocated.