Regulatory dynamics and feedbacks – University of Copenhagen

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Regulatory dynamics and feedbacks

Protein production in living cells is a huge process, which depends on external conditions, stress, and also coupled to the ability of genetically identical cells to behave differently.

The transcription and translation machinery of cells are regulated on both large and small scale, invoking physiological stress signals, as well as specifically acting transcription and translation regulators.

The networks of such regulations defines a feedback, which in turn regulates decisions in living cells.

In some cases, e.g. in development of an animal or in the lysis-lysogeny decisions of temperate phages, a gene regulatory system decides which of a few possible states to take. Such decisions involves positive feedbacks and will be exposed to stochastic fluctuations at molecular level.

When cell need to maintain life functions and homeostasis, then negative feedback is invoked. Combinations of positive and negative feedback are opens for spatial patterns and transmission of information across space.

In collaboration with biological laboratories we consider a number of such gene regulatory systems and how they guide cells and tissues to work. Current examples include (p)ppGpp and ribosome traffic in E.coli, iron and sugar metabolism networks, phage decision networks, toxin-antitoxin systems, as well as the mammalian systems of inflammation response (NFkappaB).