Know the Single-Receptor Sensing Limit? Think Again.


Aquino, Gerardo, Ned S Wingreen, and Robert G Endres. “Know the Single-Receptor Sensing Limit? Think Again.”. J Stat Phys 162 (2016): , 162, 1353-1364. Web.

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How cells reliably infer information about their environment is a fundamentally important question. While sensing and signaling generally start with cell-surface receptors, the degree of accuracy with which a cell can measure external ligand concentration with even the simplest device-a single receptor-is surprisingly hard to pin down. Recent studies provide conflicting results for the fundamental physical limits. Comparison is made difficult as different studies either suggest different readout mechanisms of the ligand-receptor occupancy, or differ on how ligand diffusion is implemented. Here we critically analyse these studies and present a unifying perspective on the limits of sensing, with wide-ranging biological implications.