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Anomalous and Normal Diffusion of Tracers in Crowded Environments: E ect of Size Disparity between Tracer and Crowders
Yi-ding Ma*,Kai-fu Luo
Author NameAffiliationE-mail
Yi-ding Ma* CAS Key Laboratory of Soft Matter Chemistry, Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China yiding@mail.ustc.edu.cn 
Kai-fu Luo CAS Key Laboratory of Soft Matter Chemistry, Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China  
Abstract:
The dynamics of tracers in crowded matrix is of interest in various areas of physics, such as the diffusion of proteins in living cells. By using two-dimensional (2D) Langevin dynamics simulations, we investigate the diffusive properties of a tracer of a diameter in crowded environments caused by randomly distributed crowders of a diameter. Results show that the emergence of subdiffusion of a tracer at intermediate time scales depends on the size ratio of the tracer to crowders δ. If δ falls between a lower critical size ratio and a upper one, the anomalous diffusion occurs purely due to the molecular crowding. Further analysis indicates that the physical origin of subdiffusion is the "cage effect". Moreover, the subdiffusion exponent α decreases with the increasing medium viscosity and the degree of crowding, and gets a minimum αmin=0.75 at δ=1. At long time scales, normal diffusion of a tracer is recovered. For δ≤1, the relative mobility of tracers is independent of the degree of crowding. Meanwhile, it is sensitive to the degree of crowding for δ>1. Our results are helpful in deepening the understanding of the diffusive properties of biomacromolecules that lie within crowded intracellular environments, such as proteins, DNA and ribosomes.
Key words:  Subdiffusion  Langevin dynamics simulations  Size disparity
FundProject:This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No.21225421 and No.21474099), the National Basic Research Program of China (No.2014CB845605)
粒子在拥挤环境下的亚扩散:示踪粒子与拥挤粒子的尺寸影响
马义丁*,罗开富
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DOI:10.1063/1674-0068/30/cjcp1609184
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