Frequency selectivity, multistability, and oscillations emerge from models of genetic regulatory systems

P Smolen, D A Baxter, J H Byrne
1998 American Journal of Physiology  
To examine the capability of genetic regulatory systems for complex dynamic activity, we developed simple kinetic models that incorporate known features of these systems. These include autoregulation and stimulus-dependent phosphorylation of transcription factors (TFs), dimerization of TFs, crosstalk, and feedback. The simplest model manifested multiple stable steady states, and brief perturbations could switch the model between these states. Such transitions might explain, for example, how a
more » ... or example, how a brief pulse of hormone or neurotransmitter could elicit a long-lasting cellular response. In slightly more complex models, oscillatory regimes were identified. The addition of competition between activating and repressing TFs provided a plausible explanation for optimal stimulus frequencies that give maximal transcription. Such optimal frequencies are suggested by recent experiments comparing training paradigms for long-term memory formation and examining changes in mRNA levels in repetitively stimulated cultured cells. In general, the computational approach illustrated here, combined with appropriate experiments, provides a conceptual framework for investigating the function of genetic regulatory systems.
pmid:9486144 fatcat:2aekbomd7jduvgf5jvfg33r57y