Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Biophys J. 2007 Aug 1;93(3):806-21. Epub 2007 May 18.

Mathematical and computational analysis of adaptation via feedback inhibition in signal transduction pathways.

Author information

  • 1Department of Physics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.


We perform a systematic analysis of mechanisms of feedback regulation that underlie short-term adaptation in intracellular signaling systems. Upon receiving an external cue, these systems generate a transient response that quickly returns to basal levels even if the stimulus persists. Signaling pathways capable of short-term adaptation are found in systems as diverse as the high osmolarity response of yeast, gradient sensing in Dictyostelium, and the cytokine response in vertebrates. Using mathematical analysis and computational experiments, we compare different feedback architectures in terms of response amplitude and duration, ability to adapt, and response to variable stimulus levels. Our analysis reveals three important features of these systems: 1), multiple step signaling cascades improve sensitivity to low doses by an effect distinct from signal amplification; 2), some feedback architectures act as signal transducers converting stimulus strength into response duration; and 3), feedback deactivation acts as a dose-dependent switch between transient and sustained responses. Finally, we present characteristic features for each form of feedback regulation that can aid in their identification.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center