On the steady-state distribution in the homogeneous ribosome flow model

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A central biological process in all living organisms is gene translation. Developing a deeper understanding of this complex process may have ramifications to almost every biomedical discipline. Reuveni et al. recently proposed a new computational model of gene translation called the Ribosome Flow Model (RFM). In this paper, we consider a particular case of this model, called the Homogeneous Ribosome Flow Model (HRFM). From a biological viewpoint, this corresponds to the case where the transition rates of all the coding sequence codons are identical. This regime has been suggested recently based on experiments in mouse embryonic cells. We consider the steady-state distribution of the HRFM. We provide formulas that relate the different parameters of the model in steady state. We prove the following properties: 1) the ribosomal density profile is monotonically decreasing along the coding sequence; 2) the ribosomal density at each codon monotonically increases with the initiation rate; and 3) for a constant initiation rate, the translation rate monotonically decreases with the length of the coding sequence. In addition, we analyze the translation rate of the HRFM at the limit of very high and very low initiation rate, and provide explicit formulas for the translation rate in these two cases. We discuss the relationship between these theoretical results and biological findings on the translation process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1724-1736
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2012


FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation


    • Constant elongation speed
    • Continued fractions
    • Equilibrium point
    • Gene translation
    • Monotone systems
    • Systems biology
    • Translation elongation
    • Tridiagonal matrices


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