One challenge in biology is to make sense of the complexity of biological networks. A good system to approach this is signaling pathways, whose well-characterized molecular details allow us to relate the internal processes of each pathway to their input-output behavior. In this study, we analyzed mathematical models of three metazoan signaling pathways: the canonical Wnt, ERK, and Tgfβ pathways. We find an unexpected convergence: the three pathways behave in some physiological contexts as linear signal transmitters. Testing the results experimentally, we present direct measurements of linear input-output behavior in the Wnt and ERK pathways. Analytics from each model further reveal that linearity arises through different means in each pathway, which we tested experimentally in the Wnt and ERK pathways. Linearity is a desired property in engineering where it facilitates fidelity and superposition in signal transmission. Our findings illustrate how cells tune different complex networks to converge on the same behavior.
- Lea Goentoro
- Lea Goentoro
- Harry Nunns
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Wenying Shou, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, United States
© 2018, Nunns & Goentoro
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