Perfect robustness against non-genetic variations in bacterial signaling

7 March 2008

Markus Kollmann
Institute for Theoretical Biology
Humboldt University


Bacterial signaling pathways can process environmental information with outstanding precision. This precision is conserved even in the presence of strong fluctuations in pathway component abundance. A well known example is the chemotaxis pathway of E.coli that responds accurately to changes in chemo-ligand under conditions where the signal-to-noise ratio is much smaller than one. The fundamental question arises how such almost perfect robust network structures have evolved stepwise from much simpler architectures without changing its primary function? To this end we developed a general theory that generates systematically the complete space of perfect robust network structures to a given function on bimolecular level. We show that the signatures of the underlying design principles for robustness have been discovered experimentally for many bacterial signaling systems.

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