A thermodynamic framework for modelling membrane transporters

Michael Pan, Peter J. Gawthrop, Kenneth Tran, Joseph Cursons, Edmund J. Crampin

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Membrane transporters contribute to the regulation of the internal environment of cells by translocating substrates across cell membranes. Like all physical systems, the behaviour of membrane transporters is constrained by the laws of thermodynamics. However, many mathematical models of transporters, especially those incorporated into whole-cell models, are not thermodynamically consistent, leading to unrealistic behaviour. In this paper we use a physics-based modelling framework, in which the transfer of energy is explicitly accounted for, to develop thermodynamically consistent models of transporters. We then apply this methodology to model two specific transporters: the cardiac sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic Ca2+ ATPase (SERCA) and the cardiac Na+/K+ ATPase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-23
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Bond graph
  • Chemical reaction network
  • Systems biology

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