Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Signaling by surface receptors often relies on tethered reactions whereby an enzyme bound to the cytoplasmic tail of a receptor catalyzes reactions on substrates within reach. The overall length and stiffness of the receptor tail, the enzyme, and the substrate determine a biophysical parameter termed the molecular reach of the reaction. This parameter determines the probability that the receptor-tethered enzyme will contact the substrate in the volume proximal to the membrane when separated by different distances within the membrane plane. In this work, we develop particle-based stochastic reaction-diffusion models to study the interplay between molecular reach and diffusion. We find that increasing the molecular reach can increase reaction efficacy for slowly diffusing receptors, whereas for rapidly diffusing receptors, increasing molecular reach reduces reaction efficacy. In contrast, if reactions are forced to take place within the two-dimensional plasma membrane instead of the three-dimensional volume proximal to it or if molecules diffuse in three dimensions, increasing molecular reach increases reaction efficacy for all diffusivities. We show results in the context of immune checkpoint receptors (PD-1 dephosphorylating CD28), a standard opposing kinase-phosphatase reaction, and a minimal two-particle model. The work highlights the importance of the three-dimensional nature of many two-dimensional membrane-confined interactions, illustrating a role for molecular reach in controlling biochemical reactions.

Original publication




Journal article


Biophys J

Publication Date