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

Pan Jun Kim, Nathan D. Price*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


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
Article number148103
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2010

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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