Crowding induced switching of polymer translocation by the amalgamation of entropy and osmotic pressure

Vrinda Garg, Rejoy Mathew, Riyan Ibrahim, Kulveer Singh, Surya K. Ghosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The translocation of polymers is omnipresent in inherently crowded biological systems. We investigate the dynamics of polymer translocation through a pore in free and crowded environments using Langevin dynamics simulation. We observed a location-dependent translocation rate of monomers showcasing counterintuitive behavior in stark contrast to the bead velocity along the polymer backbone. The free energy calculation of asymmetrically placed polymers indicates a critical number of segments to direct receiver-side translocation. For one-sided crowding, we have identified a critical crowding size revealing a nonzero probability of translocation toward the crowded-side. Moreover, we have observed that shifting the polymer toward the crowded-side compensates for one-sided crowding, yielding an equal probability akin to a crowder-free system. In two-sided crowding, a slight variation in crowder size and packing fraction induces a polymer to switch its translocation direction. These conspicuous yet counter-intuitive phenomena are rationalized by minimalistic theoretical arguments based on osmotic pressure and radial entropic forces.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109348
Issue number4
StatePublished - 19 Apr 2024
Externally publishedYes

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  • Applied sciences
  • Materials science
  • Polymers


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