The role of mRNA and protein stability in the function of coupled positive and negative feedback systems in eukaryotic cells.
ABSTRACT: Oscillators and switches are important elements of regulation in biological systems. These are composed of coupling negative feedback loops, which cause oscillations when delayed, and positive feedback loops, which lead to memory formation. Here, we examine the behavior of a coupled feedback system, the Negative Autoregulated Frustrated bistability motif (NAF). This motif is a combination of two previously explored motifs, the frustrated bistability motif (FBM) and the negative auto regulation motif (NAR), which both can produce oscillations. The NAF motif was previously suggested to govern long term memory formation in animals, and was used as a synthetic oscillator in bacteria. We build a mathematical model to analyze the dynamics of the NAF motif. We show analytically that the NAF motif requires an asymmetry in the strengths of activation and repression links in order to produce oscillations. We show that the effect of time delays in eukaryotic cells, originating from mRNA export and protein import, are negligible in this system. Based on the reported protein and mRNA half-lives in eukaryotic cells, we find that even though the NAF motif possesses the ability for oscillations, it mostly promotes constant protein expression at the biologically relevant parameter regimes.
Project description:GTPases regulate a wide range of cellular processes, such as intracellular vesicular transport, signal transduction and protein translation. These hydrolase enzymes operate as biochemical switches by toggling between an active guanosine triphosphate (GTP)-bound state and an inactive guanosine diphosphate (GDP)-bound state. We compare two network motifs, a single-species switch and an interlinked cascade that consists of two species coupled through positive and negative feedback loops. We find that interlinked cascades are closer to the ideal all-or-none switch and are more robust against fluctuating signals. While the single-species switch can only achieve bistability, interlinked cascades can be converted into oscillators by tuning the cofactor concentrations, which catalyse the activity of the cascade. These regimes can only be achieved with sufficient chemical driving provided by GTP hydrolysis. In this study, we present a thermodynamically consistent model that can achieve bistability and oscillations with the same feedback motif.
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: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:A simple three-component negative feedback loop is a recurring motif in biochemical oscillators. This motif oscillates as it has the three necessary ingredients for oscillations: a three-step delay, negative feedback, and nonlinearity in the loop. However, to oscillate, this motif under the common Goodwin formulation requires a high degree of cooperativity (a measure of nonlinearity) in the feedback that is biologically "unlikely." Moreover, this recurring negative feedback motif is commonly observed augmented by positive feedback interactions. Here we show that these positive feedback interactions promote oscillation at lower degrees of cooperativity, and we can thus unify several common kinetic mechanisms that facilitate oscillations, such as self-activation and Michaelis-Menten degradation. The positive feedback loops are most beneficial when acting on the shortest lived component, where they function by balancing the lifetimes of the different components. The benefits of multiple positive feedback interactions are cumulative for a majority of situations considered, when benefits are measured by the reduction in the cooperativity required to oscillate. These positive feedback motifs also allow oscillations with longer periods than that determined by the lifetimes of the components alone. We can therefore conjecture that these positive feedback loops have evolved to facilitate oscillations at lower, kinetically achievable, degrees of cooperativity. Finally, we discuss the implications of our conclusions on the mammalian molecular clock, a system modeled extensively based on the three-component negative feedback loop.
Project description:NF-?B is a key transcription factor that regulates innate immune response. Its activity is tightly controlled by numerous feedback loops, including two negative loops mediated by NF-?B inducible inhibitors, I?B? and A20, which assure oscillatory responses, and by positive feedback loops arising due to the paracrine and autocrine regulation via TNF?, IL-1 and other cytokines. We study the NF-?B system of interlinked negative and positive feedback loops, combining bifurcation analysis of the deterministic approximation with stochastic numerical modeling. Positive feedback assures the existence of limit cycle oscillations in unstimulated wild-type cells and introduces bistability in A20-deficient cells. We demonstrated that cells of significant autocrine potential, i.e., cells characterized by high secretion of TNF? and its receptor TNFR1, may exhibit sustained cytoplasmic-nuclear NF-?B oscillations which start spontaneously due to stochastic fluctuations. In A20-deficient cells even a small TNF? expression rate qualitatively influences system kinetics, leading to long-lasting NF-?B activation in response to a short-pulsed TNF? stimulation. As a consequence, cells with impaired A20 expression or increased TNF? secretion rate are expected to have elevated NF-?B activity even in the absence of stimulation. This may lead to chronic inflammation and promote cancer due to the persistent activation of antiapoptotic genes induced by NF-?B. There is growing evidence that A20 mutations correlate with several types of lymphomas and elevated TNF? secretion is characteristic of many cancers. Interestingly, A20 loss or dysfunction also leaves the organism vulnerable to septic shock and massive apoptosis triggered by the uncontrolled TNF? secretion, which at high levels overcomes the antiapoptotic action of NF-?B. It is thus tempting to speculate that some cancers of deregulated NF-?B signaling may be prone to the pathogen-induced apoptosis.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Feedback loops, both positive and negative are embedded in the Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) cascade. In the three layer MAPK cascade, both feedback loops originate from the terminal layer and their sites of action are either of the two upstream layers. Recent studies have shown that the cascade uses coupled positive and negative feedback loops in generating oscillations. Two plausible designs of coupled positive and negative feedback loops can be elucidated from the literature; in one design the positive feedback precedes the negative feedback in the direction of signal flow and vice-versa in another. But it remains unexplored how the two designs contribute towards triggering oscillations in MAPK cascade. Thus it is also not known how amplitude, frequency, robustness or nature (analogous/digital) of the oscillations would be shaped by these two designs. RESULTS: We built two models of MAPK cascade that exhibited oscillations as function of two underlying designs of coupled positive and negative feedback loops. Frequency, amplitude and nature (digital/analogous) of oscillations were found to be differentially determined by each design. It was observed that the positive feedback emerging from an oscillating MAPK cascade and functional in an external signal processing module can trigger oscillations in the target module, provided that the target module satisfy certain parametric requirements. The augmentation of the two models was done to incorporate the nuclear-cytoplasmic shuttling of cascade components followed by induction of a nuclear phosphatase. It revealed that the fate of oscillations in the MAPK cascade is governed by the feedback designs. Oscillations were unaffected due to nuclear compartmentalization owing to one design but were completely abolished in the other case. CONCLUSION: The MAPK cascade can utilize two distinct designs of coupled positive and negative feedback loops to trigger oscillations. The amplitude, frequency and robustness of the oscillations in presence or absence of nuclear compartmentalization were differentially determined by two designs of coupled positive and negative feedback loops. A positive feedback from an oscillating MAPK cascade was shown to induce oscillations in an external signal processing module, uncovering a novel regulatory aspect of MAPK signal processing.
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:The p53 transcription factor is a regulator of key cellular processes including DNA repair, cell cycle arrest, and apoptosis. In this theoretical study, we investigate how the complex circuitry of the p53 network allows for stochastic yet unambiguous cell fate decision-making. The proposed Markov chain model consists of the regulatory core and two subordinated bistable modules responsible for cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. The regulatory core is controlled by two negative feedback loops (regulated by Mdm2 and Wip1) responsible for oscillations, and two antagonistic positive feedback loops (regulated by phosphatases Wip1 and PTEN) responsible for bistability. By means of bifurcation analysis of the deterministic approximation we capture the recurrent solutions (i.e., steady states and limit cycles) that delineate temporal responses of the stochastic system. Direct switching from the limit-cycle oscillations to the "apoptotic" steady state is enabled by the existence of a subcritical Neimark-Sacker bifurcation in which the limit cycle loses its stability by merging with an unstable invariant torus. Our analysis provides an explanation why cancer cell lines known to have vastly diverse expression levels of Wip1 and PTEN exhibit a broad spectrum of responses to DNA damage: from a fast transition to a high level of p53 killer (a p53 phosphoform which promotes commitment to apoptosis) in cells characterized by high PTEN and low Wip1 levels to long-lasting p53 level oscillations in cells having PTEN promoter methylated (as in, e.g., MCF-7 cell line).
Project description:BCR signaling regulates the activities and fates of B cells. BCR signaling encompasses two feedback loops emanating from Lyn and Fyn, which are Src family protein tyrosine kinases (SFKs). Positive feedback arises from SFK-mediated trans phosphorylation of BCR and receptor-bound Lyn and Fyn, which increases the kinase activities of Lyn and Fyn. Negative feedback arises from SFK-mediated cis phosphorylation of the transmembrane adapter protein PAG1, which recruits the cytosolic protein tyrosine kinase Csk to the plasma membrane, where it acts to decrease the kinase activities of Lyn and Fyn. To study the effects of the positive and negative feedback loops on the dynamical stability of BCR signaling and the relative contributions of Lyn and Fyn to BCR signaling, we consider in this study a rule-based model for early events in BCR signaling that encompasses membrane-proximal interactions of six proteins, as follows: BCR, Lyn, Fyn, Csk, PAG1, and Syk, a cytosolic protein tyrosine kinase that is activated as a result of SFK-mediated phosphorylation of BCR. The model is consistent with known effects of Lyn and Fyn deletions. We find that BCR signaling can generate a single pulse or oscillations of Syk activation depending on the strength of Ag signal and the relative levels of Lyn and Fyn. We also show that bistability can arise in Lyn- or Csk-deficient cells.
Project description: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.