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#### Institute

Stochastic processes driven by stationary fractional Gaussian noise, that is, fractional Brownian motion and fractional Langevin-equation motion, are usually considered to be ergodic in the sense that, after an algebraic relaxation, time and ensemble averages of physical observables coincide. Recently it was demonstrated that fractional Brownian motion and fractional Langevin-equation motion under external confinement are transiently nonergodic-time and ensemble averages behave differently-from the moment when the particle starts to sense the confinement. Here we show that these processes also exhibit transient aging, that is, physical observables such as the time-averaged mean-squared displacement depend on the time lag between the initiation of the system at time t = 0 and the start of the measurement at the aging time t(a). In particular, it turns out that for fractional Langevin-equation motion the aging dependence on ta is different between the cases of free and confined motion. We obtain explicit analytical expressions for the aged moments of the particle position as well as the time-averaged mean-squared displacement and present a numerical analysis of this transient aging phenomenon.

Macromolecular crowding in living biological cells effects subdiffusion of larger biomolecules such as proteins and enzymes. Mimicking this subdiffusion in terms of random walks on a critical percolation cluster, we here present a case study of EcoRV restriction enzymes involved in vital cellular defence. We show that due to its so far elusive propensity to an inactive state the enzyme avoids non-specific binding and remains well-distributed in the bulk cytoplasm of the cell. Despite the reduced volume exploration capability of subdiffusion processes, this mechanism guarantees a high efficiency of the enzyme. By variation of the non-specific binding constant and the bond occupation probability on the percolation network, we demonstrate that reduced nonspecific binding are beneficial for efficient subdiffusive enzyme activity even in relatively small bacteria cells. Our results corroborate a more local picture of cellular regulation.

Many chemical reactions in biological cells occur at very low concentrations of constituent molecules. Thus, transcriptional gene-regulation is often controlled by poorly expressed transcription-factors, such as E. coli lac repressor with few tens of copies. Here we study the effects of inherent concentration fluctuations of substrate-molecules on the seminal Michaelis-Menten scheme of biochemical reactions. We present a universal correction to the Michaelis-Menten equation for the reaction-rates. The relevance and validity of this correction for enzymatic reactions and intracellular gene-regulation is demonstrated. Our analytical theory and simulation results confirm that the proposed variance-corrected Michaelis-Menten equation predicts the rate of reactions with remarkable accuracy even in the presence of large non-equilibrium concentration fluctuations. The major advantage of our approach is that it involves only the mean and variance of the substrate-molecule concentration. Our theory is therefore accessible to experiments and not specific to the exact source of the concentration fluctuations.

From scaling arguments and numerical simulations, we investigate the properties of the generalized elastic model (GEM) that is used to describe various physical systems such as polymers, membranes, single-file systems, or rough interfaces. We compare analytical and numerical results for the subdiffusion exponent beta characterizing the growth of the mean squared displacement <(delta h)(2)> of the field h described by the GEM dynamic equation. We study the scaling properties of the qth order moments <vertical bar delta h vertical bar(q)> with time, finding that the interface fluctuations show no intermittent behavior. We also investigate the ergodic properties of the process h in terms of the ergodicity breaking parameter and the distribution of the time averaged mean squared displacement. Finally, we study numerically the driven GEM with a constant, localized perturbation and extract the characteristics of the average drift for a tagged probe.

Under dilute in vitro conditions transcription factors rapidly locate their target sequence on DNA by using the facilitated diffusion mechanism. However, whether this strategy of alternating between three-dimensional bulk diffusion and one-dimensional sliding along the DNA contour is still beneficial in the crowded interior of cells is highly disputed. Here we use a simple model for the bacterial genome inside the cell and present a semi-analytical model for the in vivo target search of transcription factors within the facilitated diffusion framework. Without having to resort to extensive simulations we determine the mean search time of a lac repressor in a living E. coli cell by including parameters deduced from experimental measurements. The results agree very well with experimental findings, and thus the facilitated diffusion picture emerges as a quantitative approach to gene regulation in living bacteria cells. Furthermore we see that the search time is not very sensitive to the parameters characterizing the DNA configuration and that the cell seems to operate very close to optimal conditions for target localization. Local searches as implied by the colocalization mechanism are only found to mildly accelerate the mean search time within our model.

Single-particle tracking has become a standard tool for the investigation of diffusive properties, especially in small systems such as biological cells. Usually the resulting time series are analyzed in terms of time averages over individual trajectories. Here we study confined normal as well as anomalous diffusion, modeled by fractional Brownian motion and the fractional Langevin equation, and show that even for such ergodic systems time-averaged quantities behave differently from their ensemble-averaged counterparts, irrespective of how long the measurement time becomes. Knowledge of the exact behavior of time averages is therefore fundamental for the proper physical interpretation of measured time series, in particular, for extraction of the relaxation time scale from data.

For both Lévy flight and Lévy walk search processes we analyse the full distribution of first-passage and first-hitting (or first-arrival) times. These are, respectively, the times when the particle moves across a point at some given distance from its initial position for the first time, or when it lands at a given point for the first time. For Lévy motions with their propensity for long relocation events and thus the possibility to jump across a given point in space without actually hitting it ('leapovers'), these two definitions lead to significantly different results. We study the first-passage and first-hitting time distributions as functions of the Lévy stable index, highlighting the different behaviour for the cases when the first absolute moment of the jump length distribution is finite or infinite. In particular we examine the limits of short and long times. Our results will find their application in the mathematical modelling of random search processes as well as computer algorithms.

Quorum-sensing bacteria in a growing colony of cells send out signalling molecules (so-called “autoinducers”) and themselves sense the autoinducer concentration in their vicinity. Once—due to increased local cell density inside a “cluster” of the growing colony—the concentration of autoinducers exceeds a threshold value, cells in this clusters get “induced” into a communal, multi-cell biofilm-forming mode in a cluster-wide burst event. We analyse quantitatively the influence of spatial disorder, the local heterogeneity of the spatial distribution of cells in the colony, and additional physical parameters such as the autoinducer signal range on the induction dynamics of the cell colony. Spatial inhomogeneity with higher local cell concentrations in clusters leads to earlier but more localised induction events, while homogeneous distributions lead to comparatively delayed but more concerted induction of the cell colony, and, thus, a behaviour close to the mean-field dynamics. We quantify the induction dynamics with quantifiers such as the time series of induction events and burst sizes, the grouping into induction families, and the mean autoinducer concentration levels. Consequences for different scenarios of biofilm growth are discussed, providing possible cues for biofilm control in both health care and biotechnology.

Many studies on biological and soft matter systems report the joint presence of a linear mean-squared displacement and a non-Gaussian probability density exhibiting, for instance, exponential or stretched-Gaussian tails. This phenomenon is ascribed to the heterogeneity of the medium and is captured by random parameter models such as ‘superstatistics’ or ‘diffusing diffusivity’. Independently, scientists working in the area of time series analysis and statistics have studied a class of discrete-time processes with similar properties, namely, random coefficient autoregressive models. In this work we try to reconcile these two approaches and thus provide a bridge between physical stochastic processes and autoregressive models.Westart from the basic Langevin equation of motion with time-varying damping or diffusion coefficients and establish the link to random coefficient autoregressive processes. By exploring that link we gain access to efficient statistical methods which can help to identify data exhibiting Brownian yet non-Gaussian diffusion.