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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Jul 27;107(30):13300-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1003975107. Epub 2010 Jun 28.

Biological role of noise encoded in a genetic network motif.

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  • 1Green Center for Systems Biology and Department of Pharmacology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA.

Abstract

Genetic circuits that regulate distinct cellular processes can differ in their wiring pattern of interactions (architecture) and susceptibility to stochastic fluctuations (noise). Whether the link between circuit architecture and noise is of biological importance remains, however, poorly understood. To investigate this problem, we performed a computational study of gene expression noise for all possible circuit architectures of feed-forward loop (FFL) motifs. Results revealed that FFL architectures fall into two categories depending on whether their ON (stimulated) or OFF (unstimulated) steady states exhibit noise. To explore the biological importance of this difference in noise behavior, we analyzed 858 documented FFLs in Escherichia coli that were divided into 39 functional categories. The majority of FFLs were found to regulate two subsets of functional categories. Interestingly, these two functional categories associated with FFLs of opposite noise behaviors. This opposite noise preference revealed two noise-based strategies to cope with environmental constraints where cellular responses are either initiated or terminated stochastically to allow probabilistic sampling of alternative states. FFLs may thus be selected for their architecture-dependent noise behavior, revealing a biological role for noise that is encoded in gene circuit architectures.

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PMID:
20616054
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2922135
Free PMC Article

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