Fange D, Berg OG, Sjöberg P, Elf J
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 107 (46) 19820-19825 [2010-11-16; online 2010-11-01]
Quantitative analysis of biochemical networks often requires consideration of both spatial and stochastic aspects of chemical processes. Despite significant progress in the field, it is still computationally prohibitive to simulate systems involving many reactants or complex geometries using a microscopic framework that includes the finest length and time scales of diffusion-limited molecular interactions. For this reason, spatially or temporally discretized simulations schemes are commonly used when modeling intracellular reaction networks. The challenge in defining such coarse-grained models is to calculate the correct probabilities of reaction given the microscopic parameters and the uncertainty in the molecular positions introduced by the spatial or temporal discretization. In this paper we have solved this problem for the spatially discretized Reaction-Diffusion Master Equation; this enables a seamless and physically consistent transition from the microscopic to the macroscopic frameworks of reaction-diffusion kinetics. We exemplify the use of the methods by showing that a phosphorylation-dephosphorylation motif, commonly observed in eukaryotic signaling pathways, is predicted to display fluctuations that depend on the geometry of the system.