Constraints on fluctuations in sparsely characterized biological systems
Norman, Thomas M
Physical Review Letters
American Physical Society
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Hilfinger, A., Norman, T. M., Vinnicombe, G., & Paulsson, J. (2016). Constraints on fluctuations in sparsely characterized biological systems. Physical Review Letters, 116 (058101)https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.058101
Biochemical processes are inherently stochastic, creating molecular fluctuations in otherwise identical cells. Such `noise' is widespread but has proven difficult to analyze because most systems are sparsely characterized at the single cell level and because nonlinear stochastic models are analytically intractable. Here we exactly relate average abundances, lifetimes, step-sizes, and covariances for any pair of components in complex stochastic reaction systems even when the dynamics of other components are left unspecified. Using basic mathematical inequalities we then establish bounds for whole classes of systems. These bounds highlight fundamental trade-offs that show how efficient assembly processes must invariably exhibit large fluctuations in subunit levels, and how eliminating fluctuations in one cellular component requires creating heterogeneity in another.
The work was supported by grant 1137676 from the Division of Mathematical Sciences at the National Science Foundation, and grant GM081563 from the National Institutes of Health.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.058101
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/252697
Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales
Licence URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/uk/