A universal method for analyzing copolymer growth
J. Chem. Phys. , Volume 158 - Issue 10 p. 104906: 1- 23
Polymers consisting of more than one type of monomer, known as copolymers, are vital to both living and synthetic systems. Copolymerization has been studied theoretically in a number of contexts, often by considering a Markov process in which monomers are added or removed from the growing tip of a long copolymer. To date, the analysis of the most general models of this class has necessitated simulation. We present a general method for analyzing such processes without resorting to simulation. Our method can be applied to models with an arbitrary network of sub-steps prior to addition or removal of a monomer, including non-equilibrium kinetic proofreading cycles. Moreover, the approach allows for a dependency of addition and removal reactions on the neighboring site in the copolymer and thermodynamically self-consistent models in which all steps are assumed to be microscopically reversible. Using our approach, thermodynamic quantities such as chemical work; kinetic quantities such as time taken to grow; and statistical quantities such as the distribution of monomer types in the growing copolymer can be directly derived either analytically or numerically from the model definition.