Reliability of transcriptional cycles and the yeast cell-cycle oscillator.
A recently published transcriptional oscillator associated with the yeast cell cycle provides clues and raises questions about the mechanisms underlying autonomous cyclic processes in cells. Unlike other biological and synthetic oscillatory networks in the literature, this one does not seem to rely on a constitutive signal or positive auto-regulation, but rather to operate through stable transmission of a pulse on a slow positive feedback loop that determines its period. We construct a continuous-time Boolean model of this network, which permits the modeling of noise through small fluctuations in the timing of events, and show that it can sustain stable oscillations. Analysis of simpler network models shows how a few building blocks can be arranged to provide stability against fluctuations. Our findings suggest that the transcriptional oscillator in yeast belongs to a new class of biological oscillators.
Sevim, V; Gong, X; Socolar, JES
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