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Dynamics of coupled repressilators: The role of mRNA kinetics and transcription cooperativity

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Original languageEnglish
Article number031901
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2011
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Oscillatory regulatory networks have been discovered in many cellular pathways. An especially challenging area is studying dynamics of cellular oscillators interacting with one another in a population. Synchronization is only one of and the simplest outcome of such interaction. It is suggested that the outcome depends on the structure of the network. Phase-attractive (synchronizing) and phase-repulsive coupling structures were distinguished for regulatory oscillators. In this paper, we question this separation. We study an example of two interacting repressilators (artificial regulatory oscillators based on cyclic repression). We show that changing the cooperativity of transcription repression (Hill coefficient) and reaction timescales dramatically alter synchronization properties. The network becomes birhythmic-it chooses between the in-phase and antiphase synchronization. Thus, the type of synchronization is not characteristic for the network structure. However, we conclude that the specific scenario of emergence and stabilization of synchronous solutions is much more characteristic.