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John Pearson
Theoretical Biology and Biophysics
Los Alamos National Laboratory


Equivalence and Identification of Markov Models for Ion Channel Kinetics

Deducing plausible reaction schemes from single channel current traces is time consuming and difficult. The goal is to find the simplest possible scheme, but there are many ways to connect even a small number of states (more than 2.5 million schemes with four open and four closed states). Many of those schemes make identical predictions and even an exhaustive search over model space does not address the problem of how to represent the many euqivalent schemes that may result.

We have found a canonical form that can express all reaction schemes for binary channels. This form has the minimal number of rate constants unlike other canonical forms such as the well-established "uncouples" scheme. For many models proposed in the literature our form has dramatically fewer links than the uncoupled form. The new form, which is based on the number of indpendent open-closed transitions, leads naturally to new strategies for searching for the simplest model.



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