Distinct noise-controlling roles of multiple negative feedback mechanisms in a prokaryotic operon system

Lan Nguyen, Don Kulasiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Molecular fluctuations are known to affect dynamics of cellular systems in important ways. Studies aimed at understanding how molecular systems of certain regulatory architectures control noise therefore become essential. The interplay between feedback regulation and noise has been previously explored for cellular networks governed by a single negative feedback loop. However, similar issues within networks consisting of more complex regulatory structures remain elusive. The authors investigate how negative feedback loops manage noise within a biochemical cascade concurrently governed by multiple negative feedback loops, using the prokaryotic tryptophan (trp) operon system in Escherechia coli as the model system. To the authors knowledge, this is the first study of noise in the trp operon system. They show that the loops in the trp operon system possess distinct, even opposing, noise-controlling effects despite their seemingly analogous feedback structures. The enzyme inhibition loop, although controlling the last reaction of the cascade, was found to suppress noise not only for the tryptophan output but also for other upstream components. In contrast, the Repression (Rep) loop enhances noise for all systems components. Attenuation (Att) poses intermediate effects by attenuating noise for the upstream components but promoting noise for components downstream of its target. Regarding noise at the output tryptophan, Rep and Att can be categorised as noise-enhancing loops whereas Enzyme Inhibition as a noise-reducing loop. These findings suggest novel implications in how cellular systems with multiple feedback mechanisms control noise. [Includes supplementary material].
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145 - 156
Number of pages12
JournalIET Systems Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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