Impact of morphology on diffusive dynamics on curved surfaces

R.P.T. Kusters, C. Storm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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Diffusive processes on nonplanar substrates are deeply relevant for cellular function and transport and increasingly used to probe and characterize the behavior of proteins in membranes. We present analytical and numerical analyses of in-plane diffusion of discrete particles on curved geometries reflecting various generic motifs in biology and explore, in particular, the effect that the shape of the substrate has on the characteristic time scales of diffusive processes. To this end, we consider both collective measures (the relaxation of concentration profiles towards equilibrium) and single-particle measures (escape rates and first passage times of individual diffusing molecules): the first relevant for the correct interpretation of FRAP experiments in curved environments; the second, for single-particle tracking probes. Each of these measures is sensitively affected by the morphology of the substrate, and we find that the exit rate out of a domain is not uniquely set by the size of its boundary, illustrating the general principle we reveal: By varying the shape of a substrate, Nature can control the diffusive time scales in a microenvironment without changing the bare substrate properties
Original languageEnglish
Article number032723
Pages (from-to)032723-1/8
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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