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The Coherent Feedforward Loop Serves as a Sign-sensitive Delay Element in Transcription Networks

Summary: The Coherent Feedforward Loop Serves as a Sign-
sensitive Delay Element in Transcription Networks
S. Mangan, A. Zaslaver and U. Alon*
Department of Molecular Cell
Biology and Department of
Physics of Complex Systems
Weizmann Institute of Science
Rehovot 76100, Israel
Recent analysis of the structure of transcription regulation networks
revealed several "network motifs": regulatory circuit patterns that occur
much more frequently than in randomized networks. It is important to
understand whether these network motifs have specific functions. One of
the most significant network motifs is the coherent feedforward loop, in
which transcription factor X regulates transcription factor Y, and both
jointly regulate gene Z. On the basis of mathematical modeling and simu-
lations, it was suggested that the coherent feedforward loop could serve
as a sign-sensitive delay element: a circuit that responds rapidly to step-
like stimuli in one direction (e.g. ON to OFF), and at a delay to steps in
the opposite direction (OFF to ON). Is this function actually carried out
by feedforward loops in living cells? Here, we address this experimen-


Source: Alon, Uri - Departments of Molecular Cell Biology & Physics of Complex Systems, Weizmann Institute of Science
Sontag, Eduardo - Department of Mathematics, Rutgers University


Collections: Biology and Medicine; Mathematics