Dynamic Signals Enhance Information Transfer

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Sci. Signal.  16 Dec 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 356, pp. ec351
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaa4766

Cells need to process information about their external environment reliably to survive. However, variation (or noise) in biochemical reactions (or in the states of individual cells) make it hard for a cell to detect concentration, rather than just the presence or absence of an activating ligand. Selimkhanov et al. show that cellular signaling circuits get around this problem by continually monitoring signals over time. Such dynamic responses in cultured human cells more effectively distinguish signals from noise and thus avoid loss of information transmitted to the cell from external signals.

J. Selimkhanov, B. Taylor, J. Yao, A. Pilko, J. Albeck, A. Hoffmann, L. Tsimring, R. Wollman, Accurate information transmission through dynamic biochemical signaling networks. Science 346, 1370–1373 (2014). [Abstract] [Full Text]