Macroscopic kinetic effect of cell-to-cell variation in biochemical reactions

Pan Jun Kim, Nathan D. Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Genetically identical cells under the same environmental conditions can show strong variations in protein copy numbers due to inherently stochastic events in individual cells. We here develop a theoretical framework to address how variations in enzyme abundance affect the collective kinetics of metabolic reactions observed within a population of cells. Kinetic parameters measured at the cell population level are shown to be systematically deviated from those of single cells, even within populations of homogeneous parameters. Because of these considerations, Michaelis-Menten kinetics can even be inappropriate to apply at the population level. Our findings elucidate a novel origin of discrepancy between in vivo and in vitro kinetics, and offer potential utility for analysis of single-cell metabolomic data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number148103
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 8 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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