Cellular motions and thermal fluctuations: the Brownian ratchet

Biophys J. 1993 Jul;65(1):316-24. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3495(93)81035-X.


We present here a model for how chemical reactions generate protrusive forces by rectifying Brownian motion. This sort of energy transduction drives a number of intracellular processes, including filopodial protrusion, propulsion of the bacterium Listeria, and protein translocation.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport, Active
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Biophysics
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Listeria monocytogenes / physiology
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Polymers / metabolism
  • Thermodynamics


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Polymers