What is it about?
Cells use signaling pathways to receive, process, and respond to signals in their environment. The signaling pathways are made of molecular on-off switches. When a signal arrives, molecular switches may be switched on by activators, or their off state maintained by repressors may be relieved. The former case is like stepping on the accelerator in a car; the latter is like removing the foot from the brake. Our work compares different properties of signaling output of an activation-controlled switch versus that of a de-repression-controlled switch, providing insights into the advantages of each of these switch architectures. The results from our analysis should find relevance in designing drugs, synthetic biology, and understanding evolution.
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Why is it important?
Our finding show that signaling pathways in which signaling is initiated through activation respond differently from pathways that are activated by de-repression. These different properties may confer evolutionary benefits depending on environmental conditions.
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This page is a summary of: Molecular switch architecture determines response properties of signaling pathways, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, March 2021, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2013401118.
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