Noise propagation in gene regulation networks involving interlinked positive and negative feedback loops.
ABSTRACT: It is well known that noise is inevitable in gene regulatory networks due to the low-copy numbers of molecules and local environmental fluctuations. The prediction of noise effects is a key issue in ensuring reliable transmission of information. Interlinked positive and negative feedback loops are essential signal transduction motifs in biological networks. Positive feedback loops are generally believed to induce a switch-like behavior, whereas negative feedback loops are thought to suppress noise effects. Here, by using the signal sensitivity (susceptibility) and noise amplification to quantify noise propagation, we analyze an abstract model of the Myc/E2F/MiR-17-92 network that is composed of a coupling between the E2F/Myc positive feedback loop and the E2F/Myc/miR-17-92 negative feedback loop. The role of the feedback loop on noise effects is found to depend on the dynamic properties of the system. When the system is in monostability or bistability with high protein concentrations, noise is consistently suppressed. However, the negative feedback loop reduces this suppression ability (or improves the noise propagation) and enhances signal sensitivity. In the case of excitability, bistability, or monostability, noise is enhanced at low protein concentrations. The negative feedback loop reduces this noise enhancement as well as the signal sensitivity. In all cases, the positive feedback loop acts contrary to the negative feedback loop. We also found that increasing the time scale of the protein module or decreasing the noise autocorrelation time can enhance noise suppression; however, the systems sensitivity remains unchanged. Taken together, our results suggest that the negative/positive feedback mechanisms in coupled feedback loop dynamically buffer noise effects rather than only suppressing or amplifying the noise.
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, noncoding RNAs that play an important role in many key biological processes, including development, cell differentiation, the cell cycle and apoptosis, as central post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression. Recent studies have shown that miRNAs can act as oncogenes and tumor suppressors depending on the context. The present work focuses on the physiological significance of miRNAs and their role in regulating the switching behavior. We illustrate an abstract model of the Myc/E2F/miR-17-92 network presented by Aguda et al. (2008), which is composed of coupling between the E2F/Myc positive feedback loops and the E2F/Myc/miR-17-92 negative feedback loop. By systematically analyzing the network in close association with plausible experimental parameters, we show that, in the presence of miRNAs, the system bistability emerges from the system, with a bistable switch and a one-way switch presented by Aguda et al. instead of a single one-way switch. Moreover, the miRNAs can optimize the switching process. The model produces a diverse array of response-signal behaviors in response to various potential regulating scenarios. The model predicts that this transition exists, one from cell death or the cancerous phenotype directly to cell quiescence, due to the existence of miRNAs. It was also found that the network involving miR-17-92 exhibits high noise sensitivity due to a positive feedback loop and also maintains resistance to noise from a negative feedback loop.
Project description:Biochemical regulatory networks governing diverse cellular processes such as stress-response, differentiation and cell cycle often contain coupled feedback loops. We aim at understanding how features of feedback architecture, such as the number of loops, the sign of the loops and the type of their coupling, affect network dynamical performance. Specifically, we investigate how bistability range, maximum open-loop gain and switching times of a network with transcriptional positive feedback are affected by additive or multiplicative coupling with another positive- or negative-feedback loop. We show that a network's bistability range is positively correlated with its maximum open-loop gain and that both quantities depend on the sign of the feedback loops and the type of feedback coupling. Moreover, we find that the addition of positive feedback could decrease the bistability range if we control the basal level in the signal-response curves of the two systems. Furthermore, the addition of negative feedback has the capacity to increase the bistability range if its dissociation constant is much lower than that of the positive feedback. We also find that the addition of a positive feedback to a bistable network increases the robustness of its bistability range, whereas the addition of a negative feedback decreases it. Finally, we show that the switching time for a transition from a high to a low steady state increases with the effective fold change in gene regulation. In summary, we show that the effect of coupled feedback loops on the bistability range and switching times depends on the underlying mechanistic details.
Project description:We formulated a computational model for a MAPK signaling cascade downstream of the EGF receptor to investigate how interlinked positive and negative feedback loops process EGF signals into ERK pulses of constant amplitude but dose-dependent duration and frequency. A positive feedback loop involving RAS and SOS, which leads to bistability and allows for switch-like responses to inputs, is nested within a negative feedback loop that encompasses RAS and RAF, MEK, and ERK that inhibits SOS via phosphorylation. This negative feedback, operating on a longer time scale, changes switch-like behavior into oscillations having a period of 1?hour or longer. Two auxiliary negative feedback loops, from ERK to MEK and RAF, placed downstream of the positive feedback, shape the temporal ERK activity profile but are dispensable for oscillations. Thus, the positive feedback introduces a hierarchy among negative feedback loops, such that the effect of a negative feedback depends on its position with respect to the positive feedback loop. Furthermore, a combination of the fast positive feedback involving slow-diffusing membrane components with slower negative feedbacks involving faster diffusing cytoplasmic components leads to local excitation/global inhibition dynamics, which allows the MAPK cascade to transmit paracrine EGF signals into spatially non-uniform ERK activity pulses.
Project description:Feedback modules, which appear ubiquitously in biological regulations, are often subject to disturbances from the input, leading to fluctuations in the output. Thus, the question becomes how a feedback system can produce a faithful response with a noisy input. We employed multiple time scale analysis, Fluctuation Dissipation Theorem, linear stability, and numerical simulations to investigate a module with one positive feedback loop driven by an external stimulus, and we obtained a critical quantity in noise attenuation, termed as "signed activation time". We then studied the signed activation time for a system of two positive feedback loops, a system of one positive feedback loop and one negative feedback loop, and six other existing biological models consisting of multiple components along with positive and negative feedback loops. An inverse relationship is found between the noise amplification rate and the signed activation time, defined as the difference between the deactivation and activation time scales of the noise-free system, normalized by the frequency of noises presented in the input. Thus, the combination of fast activation and slow deactivation provides the best noise attenuation, and it can be attained in a single positive feedback loop system. An additional positive feedback loop often leads to a marked decrease in activation time, decrease or slight increase of deactivation time and allows larger kinetic rate variations for slow deactivation and fast activation. On the other hand, a negative feedback loop may increase the activation and deactivation times. The negative relationship between the noise amplification rate and the signed activation time also holds for the six other biological models with multiple components and feedback loops. This principle may be applicable to other feedback systems.
Project description:Feedback loops are ubiquitous features of biological networks and can produce significant phenotypic heterogeneity, including a bimodal distribution of gene expression across an isogenic cell population. In this work, a combination of experiments and computational modeling was used to explore the roles of multiple feedback loops in the bimodal, switch-like response of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae galactose regulatory network. Here, we show that bistability underlies the observed bimodality, as opposed to stochastic effects, and that two unique positive feedback loops established by Gal1p and Gal3p, which both regulate network activity by molecular sequestration of Gal80p, induce this bimodality. Indeed, systematically scanning through different single and multiple feedback loop knockouts, we demonstrate that there is always a concentration regime that preserves the system's bimodality, except for the double deletion of GAL1 and the GAL3 feedback loop, which exhibits a graded response for all conditions tested. The constitutive production rates of Gal1p and Gal3p operate as bifurcation parameters because variations in these rates can also abolish the system's bimodal response. Our model indicates that this second loss of bistability ensues from the inactivation of the remaining feedback loop by the overexpressed regulatory component. More broadly, we show that the sequestration binding affinity is a critical parameter that can tune the range of conditions for bistability in a circuit with positive feedback established by molecular sequestration. In this system, two positive feedback loops can significantly enhance the region of bistability and the dynamic response time.
Project description:Bistable behaviors are prevalent in cell signaling and can be modeled by ordinary differential equations (ODEs) with kinetic parameters. A bistable switch has recently been found to regulate the activation of transforming growth factor-?1 (TGF-?1) in the context of liver fibrosis, and an ordinary differential equation (ODE) model was published showing that the net activation of TGF-?1 depends on the balance between two antagonistic sub-pathways.Through modeling the effects of perturbations that affect both sub-pathways, we revealed that bistability is coupled with the signs of feedback loops in the model. We extended the model to include calcium and Krüppel-like factor 2 (KLF2), both regulators of Thrombospondin-1 (TSP1) and Plasmin (PLS). Increased levels of extracellular calcium, which alters the TSP1-PLS balance, would cause high levels of TGF-?1, resembling a fibrotic state. KLF2, which suppresses production of TSP1 and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI1), would eradicate bistability and preclude the fibrotic steady-state. Finally, the loop PLS?-?TGF-?1?-?PAI1 had previously been reported as negative feedback, but the model suggested a stronger indirect effect of PLS down-regulating PAI1 to produce positive (double-negative) feedback in a fibrotic state. Further simulations showed that activation of KLF2 was able to restore negative feedback in the PLS?-?TGF-?1?-?PAI1 loop.Using the TGF-?1 activation model as a case study, we showed that external factors such as calcium or KLF2 can induce or eradicate bistability, accompanied by a switch in the sign of a feedback loop (PLS?-?TGF-?1?-?PAI1) in the model. The coupling between bistability and positive/negative feedback suggests an alternative way of characterizing a dynamical system and its biological implications.
Project description:Biological systems are often subject to external noise from signal stimuli and environmental perturbations, as well as noises in the intracellular signal transduction pathway. Can different stochastic fluctuations interact to give rise to new emerging behaviors? How can a system reduce noise effects while still being capable of detecting changes in the input signal? Here, we study analytically and computationally the role of nonlinear feedback systems in controlling external noise with the presence of large internal noise. In addition to noise attenuation, we analyze derivatives of Fano factor to study systems' capability of differentiating signal inputs. We find effects of internal noise and external noise may be separated in one slow positive feedback loop system; in particular, the slow loop can decrease external noise and increase robustness of signaling with respect to fluctuations in rate constants, while maintaining the signal output specific to the input. For two feedback loops, we demonstrate that the influence of external noise mainly depends on how the fast loop responds to fluctuations in the input and the slow loop plays a limited role in determining the signal precision. Furthermore, in a dual loop system of one positive feedback and one negative feedback, a slower positive feedback always leads to better noise attenuation; in contrast, a slower negative feedback may not be more beneficial. Our results reveal interesting stochastic effects for systems containing both extrinsic and intrinsic noises, suggesting novel noise filtering strategies in inherently stochastic systems.
Project description:A common topology found in many bistable genetic systems is two interacting positive feedback loops. Here we explore how this relatively simple topology can allow bistability over a large range of cellular conditions. On the basis of theoretical arguments, we predict that nonlinear interactions between two positive feedback loops can produce an ultrasensitive response that increases the range of cellular conditions at which bistability is observed. This prediction was experimentally tested by constructing a synthetic genetic circuit in Escherichia coli containing two well-characterized positive feedback loops, linked in a coherent fashion. The concerted action of both positive feedback loops resulted in bistable behavior over a broad range of inducer concentrations; when either of the feedback loops was removed, the range of inducer concentrations at which the system exhibited bistability was decreased by an order of magnitude. Furthermore, bistability of the system could be tuned by altering growth conditions that regulate the contribution of one of the feedback loops. Our theoretical and experimental work shows how linked positive feedback loops may produce the robust bistable responses required in cellular networks that regulate development, the cell cycle, and many other cellular responses.
Project description:A hallmark of positive-feedback regulation is bistability, which gives rise to distinct cellular states with high and low expression levels, and that stochasticity in gene expression can cause random transitions between two states, yielding bimodal population distribution (Kaern et al., 2005, Nat Rev Genet 6: 451-464). In this paper, the probability transition rate and first-passage time in an autoactivating positive-feedback loop with bistability are investigated, where the gene expression is assumed to be disturbed by both additive and multiplicative external noises, the bimodality in the stochastic gene expression is due to the bistability, and the bistability determines that the potential of the Fokker-Planck equation has two potential wells. Our main goal is to illustrate how the probability transition rate and first-passage time are affected by the maximum transcriptional rate, the intensities of additive and multiplicative noises, and the correlation of additive and multiplicative noises. Our main results show that (i) the increase of the maximum transcription rate will be useful for maintaining a high gene expression level; (ii) the probability transition rate from one potential well to the other one will increase with the increase of the intensity of additive noise; (iii) the increase of multiplicative noise strength will increase the amount of probability in the left potential well; and (iv) positive (or negative) cross-correlation between additive and multiplicative noises will increase the amount of probability in the left (or right) potential well.
Project description:MiRNAs, which are a family of small non-coding RNAs, regulate a broad array of physiological and developmental processes. However, their regulatory roles have remained largely mysterious. E2F is a positive regulator of cell cycle progression and also a potent inducer of apoptosis. Positive feedback loops in the regulation of Rb-E2F pathway are predicted and shown experimentally. Recently, it has been discovered that E2F induce a cluster of miRNAs called miR449. In turn, E2F is inhibited by miR449 through regulating different transcripts, thus forming negative feedback loops in the interaction network. Here, based on the integration of experimental evidence and quantitative data, we studied Rb-E2F pathway coupling the positive feedback loops and negative feedback loops mediated by miR449. Therefore, a mathematical model is constructed based in part on the model proposed in Yao-Lee et al. (2008) and nonlinear dynamical behaviors including the stability and bifurcations of the model are discussed. A comparison is given to reveal the implication of the fundamental differences of Rb-E2F pathway between regulation and deregulation of miR449. Coherent with the experiments it predicts that miR449 plays a critical role in regulating the cell cycle progression and provides a twofold safety mechanism to avoid excessive E2F-induced proliferation by cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Moreover, numerical simulation and bifurcation analysis shows that the mechanisms of the negative regulation of miR449 to three different transcripts are quite distinctive which needs to be verified experimentally. This study may help us to analyze the whole cell cycle process mediated by other miRNAs more easily. A better knowledge of the dynamical behaviors of miRNAs mediated networks is also of interest for bio-engineering and artificial control.