Emergence of bimodal cell population responses from the interplay between analog single-cell signaling and protein expression noise

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Title: Emergence of bimodal cell population responses from the interplay between analog single-cell signaling and protein expression noise
Authors: Birtwistle, Marc R.
Rauch, Jens
Kiyatkin, Anatoly B.
et al.
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/5070
Date: 2012
Abstract: Background: Cell-to-cell variability in protein expression can be large, and its propagation through signaling networks affects biological outcomes. Here, we apply deterministic and probabilistic models and biochemical measurements to study how network topologies and cell-to-cell protein abundance variations interact to shape signaling responses. Results: We observe bimodal distributions of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) responses to epidermal growth factor (EGF) stimulation, which are generally thought to indicate bistable or ultrasensitive signaling behavior in single cells. Surprisingly, we find that a simple MAPK/ERK-cascade model with negative feedback that displays graded, analog ERK responses at a single cell level can explain the experimentally observed bimodality at the cell population level. Model analysis suggests that a conversion of graded input–output responses in single cells to digital responses at the population level is caused by a broad distribution of ERK pathway activation thesholds brought about by cell-to-cell variability in protein expression. Conclusions: Our results show that bimodal signaling response distributions do not necessarily imply digital (ultrasensitive or bistable) single cell signaling, and the interplay between protein expression noise and network topologies can bring about digital population responses from analog single cell dose responses. Thus, cells can retain the benefits of robustness arising from negative feedback, while simultaneously generating population-level on/off responses that are thought to be critical for regulating cell fate decisions.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Copyright (published version): 2012 Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Keywords: bimodal cell population responses;network topologies;extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK);MAPK/ERK-cascade model
DOI: 10.1186/1752-0509-6-109
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:SBI Research Collection

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