Optimizing information flow in small genetic networks. IV. Spatial coupling Journal Article


Author(s): Sokolowski, Thomas R; Tkačik, Gašper
Article Title: Optimizing information flow in small genetic networks. IV. Spatial coupling
Affiliation IST Austria
Abstract: We typically think of cells as responding to external signals independently by regulating their gene expression levels, yet they often locally exchange information and coordinate. Can such spatial coupling be of benefit for conveying signals subject to gene regulatory noise? Here we extend our information-theoretic framework for gene regulation to spatially extended systems. As an example, we consider a lattice of nuclei responding to a concentration field of a transcriptional regulator (the "input") by expressing a single diffusible target gene. When input concentrations are low, diffusive coupling markedly improves information transmission; optimal gene activation functions also systematically change. A qualitatively new regulatory strategy emerges where individual cells respond to the input in a nearly step-like fashion that is subsequently averaged out by strong diffusion. While motivated by early patterning events in the Drosophila embryo, our framework is generically applicable to spatially coupled stochastic gene expression models.
Keywords: Information Theory; Molecular Networks; gene regulation; noise in gene expression; stochastic modeling; spatial-stochastic models
Journal Title: Physical Review E Statistical Nonlinear and Soft Matter Physics
Volume: 91
Issue 6
ISSN: 1539-3755
Publisher: American Institute of Physics  
Date Published: 2015-06-15
Start Page: Article number: 062710
URL:
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.91.062710
Notes: The authors thank A. Mugler, I. Nemenman, T. Gregor, M. Tikhonov, P. R. ten Wolde, and K. Kaizu for fruitful discussions.
Open access: yes (repository)
IST Austria Authors
  1. Gasper Tkacik
    67 Tkacik
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