Exact Probability Distributions of Selected Species in Stochastic Chemical Reaction Networks

Academic Article


  • Chemical reactions are discrete, stochastic events. As such, the species’ molecular numbers can be described by an associated master equation. However, handling such an equation may become difficult due to the large size of reaction networks. A commonly used approach to forecast the behaviour of reaction networks is to perform computational simulations of such systems and analyse their outcome statistically. This approach, however, might require high computational costs to provide accurate results. In this paper we opt for an analytical approach to obtain the time-dependent solution of the Chemical Master Equation for selected species in a general reaction network. When the reaction networks are composed exclusively of zeroth and first-order reactions, this analytical approach significantly alleviates the computational burden required by simulation-based methods. By building upon these analytical solutions, we analyse a general monomolecular reaction network with an arbitrary number of species to obtain the exact marginal probability distribution for selected species. Additionally, we study two particular topologies of monomolecular reaction networks, namely (i) an unbranched chain of monomolecular reactions with and without synthesis and degradation reactions and (ii) a circular chain of monomolecular reactions. We illustrate our methodology and alternative ways to use it for non-linear systems by analysing a protein autoactivation mechanism. Later, we compare the computational load required for the implementation of our results and a pure computational approach to analyse an unbranched chain of monomolecular reactions. Finally, we study calcium ions gates in the sarco/endoplasmic reticulum mediated by ryanodine receptors.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • López-Caamal F; Marquez-Lago TT
  • Start Page

  • 2334
  • End Page

  • 2361