Biomathematics / Computational Biology Colloquium

Stochastic Spatial Modeling of Attachment and Detachment Processes in Molecular Motor-Cargo Systems

Speaker: Peter Kramer, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Location: Warren Weaver Hall 1314

Date: Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 12:30 p.m.


Transport of organelles and other vital material in biological cells is conducted largely by specialized molecular motor proteins moving along actin or microtubule filaments.  Their dynamics are inherently stochastic due to both the importance of thermal fluctuations on their length scale and the dependence of their motion on discrete binding events to ATP molecules.  This presentation will begin by reviewing some of the prevalent methods for representing the dynamics of molecular motors on a single microtubule, and describe ongoing and emerging research questions concerning experimental observations for how molecular motors move through networks of microtubules.  As a complement to detailed computational models for addressing these questions, we formulate some relatively simple modeling scenarios for which asymptotic stochastic procedures can relate, in mathematical terms, how the parameters describing motor function relate to their effective transport on larger scales.  Our key technical concern is attempting to more faithfully couple the stochastic spatial dynamics and the attachment/detachment stochastic switching dynamics.