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Endres R.G.,Center for Integrative Systems Biology and Bioinformatics
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Bistability is considered wide-spread among bacteria and eukaryotic cells, useful e.g. for enzyme induction, bet hedging, and epigenetic switching. However, this phenomenon has mostly been described with deterministic dynamic or well-mixed stochastic models. Here, we map known biological bistable systems onto the well-characterized biochemical Schlögl model, using analytical calculations and stochastic spatiotemporal simulations. In addition to network architecture and strong thermodynamic driving away from equilibrium, we show that bistability requires fine-tuning towards small cell volumes (or compartments) and fast protein diffusion (well mixing). Bistability is thus fragile and hence may be restricted to small bacteria and eukaryotic nuclei, with switching triggered by volume changes during the cell cycle. For large volumes, single cells generally loose their ability for bistable switching and instead undergo a first-order phase transition. © 2015 Robert G. Endres.

Aquino G.,Center for Integrative Systems Biology and Bioinformatics | Wingreen N.S.,Princeton University | Endres R.G.,Center for Integrative Systems Biology and Bioinformatics
Journal of Statistical Physics | Year: 2016

How cells reliably infer information about their environment is a fundamentally important question. While sensing and signaling generally start with cell-surface receptors, the degree of accuracy with which a cell can measure external ligand concentration with even the simplest device—a single receptor—is surprisingly hard to pin down. Recent studies provide conflicting results for the fundamental physical limits. Comparison is made difficult as different studies either suggest different readout mechanisms of the ligand-receptor occupancy, or differ on how ligand diffusion is implemented. Here we critically analyse these studies and present a unifying perspective on the limits of sensing, with wide-ranging biological implications. © 2015, The Author(s).

Lakatos E.,Center for Integrative Systems Biology and Bioinformatics | Ale A.,Center for Integrative Systems Biology and Bioinformatics | Kirk P.D.W.,Center for Integrative Systems Biology and Bioinformatics | Stumpf M.P.H.,Center for Integrative Systems Biology and Bioinformatics
Journal of Chemical Physics | Year: 2015

Stochastic effects dominate many chemical and biochemical processes. Their analysis, however, can be computationally prohibitively expensive and a range of approximation schemes have been proposed to lighten the computational burden. These, notably the increasingly popular linear noise approximation and the more general moment expansion methods, perform well for many dynamical regimes, especially linear systems. At higher levels of nonlinearity, it comes to an interplay between the nonlinearities and the stochastic dynamics, which is much harder to capture correctly by such approximations to the true stochastic processes. Moment-closure approaches promise to address this problem by capturing higher-order terms of the temporally evolving probability distribution. Here, we develop a set of multivariate moment-closures that allows us to describe the stochastic dynamics of nonlinear systems. Multivariate closure captures the way that correlations between different molecular species, induced by the reaction dynamics, interact with stochastic effects. We use multivariate Gaussian, gamma, and lognormal closure and illustrate their use in the context of two models that have proved challenging to the previous attempts at approximating stochastic dynamics: oscillations in p53 and Hes1. In addition, we consider a larger system, Erk-mediated mitogen-activated protein kinases signalling, where conventional stochastic simulation approaches incur unacceptably high computational costs. © 2015 AIP Publishing LLC.

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