Research ArticleCOMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY

Load-Induced Modulation of Signal Transduction Networks

Science Signaling  11 Oct 2011:
Vol. 4, Issue 194, pp. ra67
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2002152

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Modifying Signal Transduction Dynamics

Signal transduction cascades exhibit complex dynamics, and theoretical studies have suggested that, like electrical and mechanical systems, the behavior of signaling modules can be affected by the presence of downstream targets, which act as “loads” on the system. Jiang et al. combined mathematical theory with an in vitro–reconstituted signaling network to show that the presence or absence of downstream targets that functioned as loads altered the dynamics of the system. Their work provides strong experimental evidence, backed by theory, that the bandwidth for information processing and the response time of the system are both affected by the presence of loads. This load-induced modulation of signaling dynamics may allow tuning of the signaling cascade to reduce the effects of noise or minimize crosstalk among pathways that share components.