Proteins are polymers of amino acids. These macromolecules are synthesized by intracellular machines called ribosomes. Although the experimental investigation of protein synthesis has been a traditional area of research in molecular cell biology, important quantitative models of protein synthesis have been reported in research journals devoted to statistical physics and related interdisciplinary topics. From the perspective of a physicist, protein synthesis is the classical transport of interacting ribosomes on a messenger RNA (mRNA) template that dictates the sequence of the amino acids on the protein. We discuss appropriate simplification of the models and methods. In particular, we develop and analyze a simple toy model using some elementary techniques of nonequilibrium statistical mechanics and predict the average rate of protein synthesis and the spatial organization of the ribosomes in the steady state.

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