1. Computational and Systems Biology
  2. Physics of Living Systems
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Biophysical clocks face a trade-off between internal and external noise resistance

  1. Weerapat Pittayakanchit
  2. Zhiyue Lu
  3. Justin Chew
  4. Michael J Rust
  5. Arvind Murugan  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of Chicago, United States
Research Article
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  • Views 240
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Cite as: eLife 2018;7:e37624 doi: 10.7554/eLife.37624

Abstract

Many organisms use free running circadian clocks to anticipate the day night cycle. However, others organisms use simple stimulus-response strategies ('hourglass clocks') and it is not clear when such strategies are sufficient or even preferable to free running clocks. Here, we find that free running clocks, such as those found in the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus and humans, can efficiently project out light intensity fluctuations due to weather patterns ('external noise') by exploiting their limit cycle attractor. However, such limit cycles are necessarily vulnerable to 'internal noise'. Hence, at sufficiently high internal noise, point attractor-based 'hourglass' clocks, such as those found in a smaller cyanobacterium with low protein copy number, Prochlorococcus marinus, outperform free running clocks. By interpolating between these two regimes in a diverse range of oscillators drawn from across biology, we demonstrate biochemical clock architectures that are best suited to different relative strengths of external and internal noise.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Weerapat Pittayakanchit

    Department of Physics, University of Chicago, Chicago, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon 0000-0001-7940-3184
  2. Zhiyue Lu

    Department of Physics, University of Chicago, Chicago, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon 0000-0002-0216-4346
  3. Justin Chew

    Medical Scientist Training Program, University of Chicago, Chicago, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon 0000-0003-4749-547X
  4. Michael J Rust

    Department of Physics, University of Chicago, Chicago, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon 0000-0002-7207-4020
  5. Arvind Murugan

    Department of Physics, University of Chicago, Chicago, United States
    For correspondence
    amurugan@uchicago.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon 0000-0001-5464-917X

Funding

Simons Foundation

  • Arvind Murugan

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Aleksandra M Walczak, Reviewing Editor, École Normale Supérieure, France

Publication history

  1. Received: April 17, 2018
  2. Accepted: June 23, 2018
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: July 10, 2018 (version 1)

Copyright

© 2018, Pittayakanchit et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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