Publications about 'resource competition'
Articles in journal or book chapters
  1. D.K. Agrawal, R. Marshall, V. Noireaux, and E.D. Sontag. In vitro implementation of robust gene regulation in a synthetic biomolecular integral controller. 2019. Note: Submitted. Preprint here: .Keyword(s): tracking, synthetic biology, integral feedback, TX/TL, systems biology, dynamical systems, adaptation, internal model principle.
    Cells respond to biochemical and physical internal as well as external signals. These signals can be broadly classified into two categories: (a) ``actionable'' or ``reference'' inputs that should elicit appropriate biological or physical responses such as gene expression or motility, and (b) ``disturbances'' or ``perturbations'' that should be ignored or actively filtered-out. These disturbances might be exogenous, such as binding of nonspecific ligands, or endogenous, such as variations in enzyme concentrations or gene copy numbers. In this context, the term robustness describes the capability to produce appropriate responses to reference inputs while at the same time being insensitive to disturbances. These two objectives often conflict with each other and require delicate design trade-offs. Indeed, natural biological systems use complicated and still poorly understood control strategies in order to finely balance the goals of responsiveness and robustness. A better understanding of such natural strategies remains an important scientific goal in itself and will play a role in the construction of synthetic circuits for therapeutic and biosensing applications. A prototype problem in robustly responding to inputs is that of ``robust tracking'', defined by the requirement that some designated internal quantity (for example, the level of expression of a reporter protein) should faithfully follow an input signal while being insensitive to an appropriate class of perturbations. Control theory predicts that a certain type of motif, called integral feedback, will help achieve this goal, and this motif is, in fact, a necessary feature of any system that exhibits robust tracking. Indeed, integral feedback has always been a key component of electrical and mechanical control systems, at least since the 18th century when James Watt employed the centrifugal governor to regulate steam engines. Motivated by this knowledge, biological engineers have proposed various designs for biomolecular integral feedback control mechanisms. However, practical and quantitatively predictable implementations have proved challenging, in part due to the difficulty in obtaining accurate models of transcription, translation, and resource competition in living cells, and the stochasticity inherent in cellular reactions. These challenges prevent first-principles rational design and parameter optimization. In this work, we exploit the versatility of an Escherichia coli cell-free transcription-translation (TXTL) to accurately design, model and then build, a synthetic biomolecular integral controller that precisely controls the expression of a target gene. To our knowledge, this is the first design of a functioning gene network that achieves the goal of making gene expression track an externally imposed reference level, achieves this goal even in the presence of disturbances, and whose performance quantitatively agrees with mathematical predictions.

  2. A. Raveh, M. Margaliot, E.D. Sontag, and T. Tuller. A model for competition for ribosomes in the cell. Proc. Royal Society Interface, 13:2015.1062, 2016. [PDF] Keyword(s): resource competition, ribosomes, entrainment, nonlinear systems, stability, contractions, contractive systems.
    We develop and analyze a general model for large-scale simultaneous mRNA translation and competition for ribosomes. Such models are especially important when dealing with highly expressed genes, as these consume more resources. For our model, we prove that the compound system always converges to a steady-state and that it always entrains or phase locks to periodically time-varying transition rates in any of the mRNA molecules. We use this model to explore the interactions between the various mRNA molecules and ribosomes at steady-state. We show that increasing the length of an mRNA molecule decreases the production rate of all the mRNAs. Increasing any of the codon translation rates in a specific mRNA molecule yields a local effect: an increase in the translation rate of this mRNA, and also a global effect: the translation rates in the other mRNA molecules all increase or all decrease. These results suggest that the effect of codon decoding rates of endogenous and heterologous mRNAs on protein production might be more complicated than previously thought.



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Last modified: Mon Mar 18 12:24:42 2019
Author: sontag.

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