Buffered diffusion is the process in which diffusion of a ligand is impeded as it binds to receptors within a restricted space. Previous descriptions of buffered diffusion assumed that ligand binding is instantaneous. We used Monte-Carlo simulation to model the diffusion of ligands from a large reservoir into a restricted space. When ligand binding was fast, simulation results and previous descriptions agreed. When the ligand association rate was < 109/M/s, the rate of binding became an important factor. When association was < 107/M/s, binding was rate-limiting. We quantify the contributions of affinity, binding rates and receptor density to buffered diffusion. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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