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.

Data availability

The code and data used in the simulations are available via Github https://github.com/WeerapatP/elife_tradeoff_clocks

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 "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 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 "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 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 "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 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 "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 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 "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 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, École Normale Supérieure, France

Version history

  1. Received: April 17, 2018
  2. Accepted: June 23, 2018
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: July 10, 2018 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: July 25, 2018 (version 2)

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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  1. Weerapat Pittayakanchit
  2. Zhiyue Lu
  3. Justin Chew
  4. Michael J Rust
  5. Arvind Murugan
(2018)
Biophysical clocks face a trade-off between internal and external noise resistance
eLife 7:e37624.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.37624

Share this article

https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.37624

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