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Nucleation theory has been widely applied for the interpretation of critical phenomena in nonequilibrium systems. Ligand-induced receptor clustering is a critical step of cellular activation. Receptor clusters on the cell surface are treated from the nucleation theory point of view. The authors propose that the redistribution of energy over the degrees of freedom is crucial for forming each new bond in the growing cluster. The expression for a kinetic barrier for new bond formation in a cluster was obtained. The shape of critical receptor clusters seems to be very important for the clustering on the cell surface. The von Neumann entropy of the graph of bonds is used to determine the influence of the cluster shape on the kinetic barrier. Numerical studies were carried out to assess the dependence of the barrier on the size of the cluster. The asymptotic expression, reflecting the conditions necessary for the formation of receptor clusters, was obtained. Several dynamic effects were found. A slight increase of the ligand mass has been shown to significantly accelerate the nucleation of receptor clusters. The possible meaning of the obtained results for medical applications is discussed.


Ivan V Prikhodko, Georgy Th Guria. Dynamic Effects in Nucleation of Receptor Clusters. Entropy (Basel, Switzerland). 2021 Sep 24;23(10)

PMID: 34681969

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