Single-molecule stochastic times in a reversible bimolecular reaction

J Chem Phys. 2012 Aug 28;137(8):084106. doi: 10.1063/1.4747337.


In this work, we consider the reversible reaction between reactants of species A and B to form the product C. We consider this reaction as a prototype of many pseudobiomolecular reactions in biology, such as for instance molecular motors. We derive the exact probability density for the stochastic waiting time that a molecule of species A needs until the reaction with a molecule of species B takes place. We perform this computation taking fully into account the stochastic fluctuations in the number of molecules of species B. We show that at low numbers of participating molecules, the exact probability density differs from the exponential density derived by assuming the law of mass action. Finally, we discuss the condition of detailed balance in the exact stochastic and in the approximate treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / chemistry
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Kinesin / chemistry
  • Kinesin / metabolism
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / chemistry*
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Stochastic Processes
  • Time Factors


  • Molecular Motor Proteins
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Kinesin