Diffusion, dimensionality, and noise in transcriptional regulation

Gašper Tkačik, William Bialek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The precision of biochemical signaling is limited by randomness in the diffusive arrival of molecules at their targets. For proteins binding to specific sites on DNA and regulating transcription, the ability of the proteins to diffuse in one dimension by sliding along the length of the DNA, in addition to their diffusion in bulk solution, would seem to generate a larger target for DNA binding, consequently reducing the noise in the occupancy of the regulatory site. Here we show that this effect is largely canceled by the enhanced temporal correlations in one-dimensional diffusion. With realistic parameters, sliding along DNA has surprisingly little effect on the physical limits to the precision of transcriptional regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number051901
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 4 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability


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