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Although invisible to the bare eye, bacterial cells are large enough to make complex decisions. Cells are composed of thousands of different molecular species including DNA, proteins, and smaller molecules, allowing them to sense their environment, to process this information, and to respond accordingly. Such responses include expression of genes or the control of their movement. Despite these properties, a living cell exists in the physical world and follows its laws. Keeping this in mind can help answer questions such as how cells work and why they implement solutions to problems the way they do.
Applying physical principles in biology allows researchers to solve challenging problems at the interface between biology and the physical sciences, including how accurately biological cells can sense chemicals in their environment, how cells encode physical stimuli in biochemical pathways, or how cells amplify signals and adapt to persistent stimulation. In Physical Principles in Sensing and Signaling, the reader is introduced to this fascinating topic without the need for extensive mathematical details or huge prior knowledge in biological physics.
3: Physical concepts
4: Mathematical tools
5: Chemotaxis in bacterium Escherichia coli
6: Signal amplification and integration
7: Robust precise adaptation
8: Polar receptor localization and clustering
9: Accuracy of sensing
10: Motor impulse response
11: Optimization of pathway
12: 'Seeing' like a bacterium
13: Beyond E. coli chemotaxis
At Imperial College Robert Endres heads the Biological Physics Group. Recently he won the prestigious ERC Strating Grant award. Before moving to the United Kingdom, Robert was a postdoc with Prof. Ned Wingreen in the Molecular Biology Department at Princeton University, where his main research accomplishments were the understanding of the remarkable signalling properties of bacterial chemotaxis and the atomistic prediction of protein-DNA binding sites.
"This book organizes and communicates an amazing amount of biophysics using bacterial chemotaxis as an organizing theme. Endres, a leading researcher in cell signaling, writes in an accessible way and coherently covers a vast range of topics – e.g. diffusion, noise, allostery, membrane energetics, information theory, optimization – with crossover appeal to biologists, physicists, and engineers. This work is ideal for senior undergraduates or graduate students with an interest in the exploding field of quantitative biology."
– Ned Wingreen, Molecular Biology Department, Princeton University