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Sci. Signal., 29 January 2013
Vol. 6, Issue 260, p. ec29
[DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2003997]


Cell Biology Transcription Factor as Computer

L. Bryan Ray

Science, Science Signaling, AAAS, Washington, DC 20005, USA

Cellular signaling pathways can serve to process information so that cells respond appropriately to various environmental stimuli. Hao et al. show that a single yeast transcription factor that is activated in response to stress—Msn2—can act as a signal processor. In an experimental setup in which the amplitude and duration of signaling in the cells could be tightly controlled, sites of phosphorylation on Msn2 that determine its transport into or out of the nucleus allowed it to have different dynamic responses depending on the amplitude of the signal detected. The transcription factor could either track with the incoming signal, filter (ignore) it, or integrate it. Understanding such properties may be useful in designing behavior of biological control systems.

N. Hao, B. A. Budnik, J. Gunawardena, E. K. O’Shea, Tunable signal processing through modular control of transcription factor translocation. Science 339, 460–464 (2013). [Abstract] [Full Text]

Citation: L. B. Ray, Transcription Factor as Computer. Sci. Signal. 6, ec29 (2013).

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