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Can the statistical properties of single-electron transfer events be correctly predicted within a common equilibrium ensemble description? This fundamental in nanoworld question of ergodic behavior is scrutinized within a very basic semi-classical curve-crossing problem. It is shown that in the limit of non-adiabatic electron transfer (weak tunneling) well-described by the Marcus–Levich–Dogonadze(MLD) rate the answer is yes. However, in the limit of the so-called solvent-controlled adiabatic electron transfer, a profound breaking of ergodicity occurs. Namely, a common description based on the ensemble reduced density matrix with an initial equilibrium distribution of the reaction coordinate is not able to reproduce the statistics of single-trajectory events in this seemingly classical regime. For sufficiently large activation barriers, the ensemble survival probability in a state remains nearly exponential with the inverse rate given by the sum of the adiabatic curve crossing (Kramers) time and the inverse MLD rate. In contrast, near to the adiabatic regime, the single-electron survival probability is clearly non-exponential, even though it possesses an exponential tail which agrees well with the ensemble description. Initially, it is well described by a Mittag-Leffler distribution with a fractional rate. Paradoxically, the mean transfer time in this classical on the ensemble level regime is well described by the inverse of the nonadiabatic quantum tunneling rate on a single particle level. An analytical theory is developed which perfectly agrees with stochastic simulations and explains our findings.

Life and death of stationary linear response in anomalous continuous time random walk dynamics
(2014)

Linear theory of stationary response in systems at thermal equilibrium requires to find equilibrium correlation function of unperturbed responding system. Studies of the response of the systems exhibiting anomalously slow dynamics are often based on the continuous time random walk description (CTRW) with divergent mean waiting times. The bulk of the literature on anomalous response contains linear response functions like one by Cole-Cole calculated from such a CTRW theory and applied to systems at thermal equilibrium. Here we show within a fairly simple and general model that for the systems with divergent mean waiting times the stationary response at thermal equilibrium is absent, in accordance with some recent studies. The absence of such stationary response (or dying to zero non-stationary response in aging experiments) would confirm CTRW with divergent mean waiting times as underlying physical relaxation mechanism, but reject it otherwise. We show that the absence of stationary response is closely related to the breaking of ergodicity of the corresponding dynamical variable. As an important new result, we derive a generalized Cole-Cole response within ergodic CTRW dynamics with finite waiting time. Moreover, we provide a physically reasonable explanation of the origin and wide presence of 1/f noise in condensed matter for ergodic dynamics close to normal, rather than strongly deviating.

Recent experiments reveal both passive subdiffusion of various nanoparticles and anomalous active transport of such particles by molecular motors in the molecularly crowded environment of living biological cells. Passive and active microrheology reveals that the origin of this anomalous dynamics is due to the viscoelasticity of the intracellular fluid. How do molecular motors perform in such a highly viscous, dissipative environment? Can we explain the observed co-existence of the anomalous transport of relatively large particles of 100 to 500 nm in size by kinesin motors with the normal transport of smaller particles by the same molecular motors? What is the efficiency of molecular motors in the anomalous transport regime? Here we answer these seemingly conflicting questions and consistently explain experimental findings in a generalization of the well-known continuous diffusion model for molecular motors with two conformational states in which viscoelastic effects are included.

We study subdiffusive overdamped Brownian ratchets periodically rocked by an external zero-mean force in viscoelastic media within the framework of a non-Markovian generalized Langevin equation approach and associated multidimensional Markovian embedding dynamics. Viscoelastic deformations of the medium caused by the transport particle are modeled by a set of auxiliary Brownian quasiparticles elastically coupled to the transport particle and characterized by a hierarchy of relaxation times which obey a fractal scaling. The most slowly relaxing deformations which cannot immediately follow to the moving particle imprint long-range memory about its previous positions and cause subdiffusion and anomalous transport on a sufficiently long time scale. This anomalous behavior is combined with normal diffusion and transport on an initial time scale of overdamped motion. Anomalously slow directed transport in a periodic ratchet potential with broken space inversion symmetry emerges due to a violation of the thermal detailed balance by a zero-mean periodic driving and is optimized with frequency of driving, its amplitude, and temperature. Such optimized anomalous transport can be low dispersive and characterized by a large generalized Peclet number. Moreover, we show that overdamped subdiffusive ratchets can sustain a substantial load and do useful work. The corresponding thermodynamic efficiency decays algebraically in time since the useful work done against a load scales sublinearly with time following to the transport particle position, but the energy pumped by an external force scales with time linearly. Nevertheless, it can be transiently appreciably high and compare well with the thermodynamical efficiency of the normal diffusion overdamped ratchets on sufficiently long temporal and spatial scales.

Molecular motors pulling cargos in the viscoelastic cytosol: how power strokes beat subdiffusion
(2014)

The discovery of anomalous diffusion of larger biopolymers and submicron tracers such as endogenous granules, organelles, or virus capsids in living cells, attributed to the viscoelastic nature of the cytoplasm, provokes the question whether this complex environment equally impacts the active intracellular transport of submicron cargos by molecular motors such as kinesins: does the passive anomalous diffusion of free cargo always imply its anomalously slow active transport by motors, the mean transport distance along microtubule growing sublinearly rather than linearly in time? Here we analyze this question within the widely used two-state Brownian ratchet model of kinesin motors based on the continuous-state diffusion along microtubules driven by a flashing binding potential, where the cargo particle is elastically attached to the motor. Depending on the cargo size, the loading force, the amplitude of the binding potential, the turnover frequency of the molecular motor enzyme, and the linker stiffness we demonstrate that the motor transport may turn out either normal or anomalous, as indeed measured experimentally. We show how a highly efficient normal active transport mediated by motors may emerge despite the passive anomalous diffusion of the cargo, and study the intricate effects of the elastic linker. Under different, well specified conditions the microtubule-based motor transport becomes anomalously slow and thus significantly less efficient.

Normal diffusion in corrugated potentials with spatially uncorrelated Gaussian energy disorder famously explains the origin of non-Arrhenius exp[-sigma(2)/(k(B)T(2))] temperature dependence in disordered systems. Here we show that unbiased diffusion remains asymptotically normal also in the presence of spatial correlations decaying to zero. However, because of a temporal lack of self-averaging, transient subdiffusion emerges on the mesoscale, and it can readily reach macroscale even for moderately strong disorder fluctuations of sigma similar to 4 - 5k(B)T. Because of its nonergodic origin, such subdiffusion exhibits a large scatter in single-trajectory averages. However, at odds with intuition, it occurs essentially faster than one expects from the normal diffusion in the absence of correlations. We apply these results to diffusion of regulatory proteins on DNA molecules and predict that such diffusion should be anomalous, but much faster than earlier expected on a typical length of genes for a realistic energy disorder of several room k(B)T, or merely 0.05-0.075 eV.

We propose and study a model of hypothetical magnetosensitive ionic channels which are long thought to be a possible candidate to explain the influence of weak magnetic fields on living organisms ranging from magnetotactic bacteria to fishes, birds, rats, bats, and other mammals including humans. The core of the model is provided by a short chain of magnetosomes serving as a sensor, which is coupled by elastic linkers to the gating elements of ion channels forming a small cluster in the cell membrane. The magnetic sensor is fixed by one end on cytoskeleton elements attached to the membrane and is exposed to viscoelastic cytosol. Its free end can reorient stochastically and subdiffusively in viscoelastic cytosol responding to external magnetic field changes and can open the gates of coupled ion channels. The sensor dynamics is generally bistable due to bistability of the gates which can be in two states with probabilities which depend on the sensor orientation. For realistic parameters, it is shown that this model channel can operate in the magnetic field of Earth for a small number (five to seven) of single-domain magnetosomes constituting the sensor rod, each of which has a typical size found in magnetotactic bacteria and other organisms or even just one sufficiently large nanoparticle of a characteristic size also found in nature. It is shown that, due to the viscoelasticity of the medium, the bistable gating dynamics generally exhibits power law and stretched exponential distributions of the residence times of the channels in their open and closed states. This provides a generic physical mechanism for the explanation of the origin of such anomalous kinetics for other ionic channels whose sensors move in a viscoelastic environment provided by either cytosol or biological membrane, in a quite general context, beyond the fascinating hypothesis of magnetosensitive ionic channels we explore.

Here we generalize our previous model of molecular motors trafficking subdiffusing cargos in viscoelastic cytosol by (i) including mechano-chemical coupling between cyclic conformational fluctuations of the motor protein driven by the reaction of ATP hydrolysis and its translational motion within the simplest two-state model of hand-over-hand motion of kinesin, and also (ii) by taking into account the anharmonicity of the tether between the motor and the cargo (its maximally possible extension length). It is shown that the major earlier results such as occurrence of normal versus anomalous transport depending on the amplitude of binding potential, cargo size and the motor turnover frequency not only survive in this more realistic model, but the results also look very similar for the correspondingly adjusted parameters. However, this more realistic model displays a substantially larger thermodynamic efficiency due to a bidirectional mechano-chemical coupling. For realistic parameters, the maximal thermodynamic efficiency can transiently be about 50% as observed for kinesins, and even larger, surprisingly also in a novel strongly anomalous (sub) transport regime, where the motor enzymatic turnovers become also anomalously slow and cannot be characterized by a turnover rate. Here anomalously slow dynamics of the cargo enforces anomalously slow cyclic kinetics of the motor protein.

We consider a simple Markovian class of the stochastic Wilson-Cowan type models of neuronal network dynamics, which incorporates stochastic delay caused by the existence of a refractory period of neurons. From the point of view of the dynamics of the individual elements, we are dealing with a network of non-Markovian stochastic two-state oscillators with memory, which are coupled globally in a mean-field fashion. This interrelation of a higher-dimensional Markovian and lower-dimensional non-Markovian dynamics is discussed in its relevance to the general problem of the network dynamics of complex elements possessing memory. The simplest model of this class is provided by a three-state Markovian neuron with one refractory state, which causes firing delay with an exponentially decaying memory within the two-state reduced model. This basic model is used to study critical avalanche dynamics (the noise sustained criticality) in a balanced feedforward network consisting of the excitatory and inhibitory neurons. Such avalanches emerge due to the network size dependent noise (mesoscopic noise). Numerical simulations reveal an intermediate power law in the distribution of avalanche sizes with the critical exponent around -1.16. We show that this power law is robust upon a variation of the refractory time over several orders of magnitude. However, the avalanche time distribution is biexponential. It does not reflect any genuine power law dependence.

We study origin, parameter optimization, and thermodynamic efficiency of isothermal rocking ratchets based on fractional subdiffusion within a generalized non-Markovian Langevin equation approach. A corresponding multi-dimensional Markovian embedding dynamics is realized using a set of auxiliary Brownian particles elastically coupled to the central Brownian particle (see video on the journal web site). We show that anomalous subdiffusive transport emerges due to an interplay of nonlinear response and viscoelastic effects for fractional Brownian motion in periodic potentials with broken space-inversion symmetry and driven by a time-periodic field. The anomalous transport becomes optimal for a subthreshold driving when the driving period matches a characteristic time scale of interwell transitions. It can also be optimized by varying temperature, amplitude of periodic potential and driving strength. The useful work done against a load shows a parabolic dependence on the load strength. It grows sublinearly with time and the corresponding thermodynamic efficiency decays algebraically in time because the energy supplied by the driving field scales with time linearly. However, it compares well with the efficiency of normal diffusion rocking ratchets on an appreciably long time scale.