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FEBS Lett. 2008 Nov 12;582(27):3776-82. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2008.10.005. Epub 2008 Oct 16.

Robustness analysis of cellular memory in an autoactivating positive feedback system.

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National Laboratory of Solid State Microstructure and Department of Physics, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China.


Cellular memory is a ubiquitous phenomenon in cell biology. Using numerical simulation and theoretical analysis, we explored the robustness of cellular memory to intrinsic noise in a transcriptional positive feedback system. Without noise, the system could create two stable steady states and function as a memory module. Memory robustness index and mean first-passage time were used to quantify the robustness of memory. Large cell size and strong cooperativity in binding enhanced memory storage remarkably. Adding a second positive feedback loop improved persistent memory significantly, whereas including a negative one destabilized memory storage. These are consistent with experimental observations. We interpret why positive feedback loops are actively involved in epigenetic memory from a dynamical systems perspective.

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