Gene Regulation and Systems Biology

Patterns of Stochastic Behavior in Dynamically Unstable High-Dimensional Biochemical Networks

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Gene Regulation and Systems Biology 2009:31-10

Published on 29 Jan 2009

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Simon Rosenfeld

National Cancer Institute, EPN 3108, 6130 Executive Blvd, Rockville, MD, 20892.


The question of dynamical stability and stochastic behavior of large biochemical networks is discussed. It is argued that stringent conditions of asymptotic stability have very little chance to materialize in a multidimensional system described by the differential equations of chemical kinetics. The reason is that the criteria of asymptotic stability (Routh- Hurwitz, Lyapunov criteria, Feinberg’s Deficiency Zero theorem) would impose the limitations of very high algebraic order on the kinetic rates and stoichiometric coefficients, and there are no natural laws that would guarantee their unconditional validity. Highly nonlinear, dynamically unstable systems, however, are not necessarily doomed to collapse, as a simple Jacobian analysis would suggest. It is possible that their dynamics may assume the form of pseudo-random fluctuations quite similar to a shot noise, and, therefore, their behavior may be described in terms of Langevin and Fokker-Plank equations. We have shown by simulation that the resulting pseudo-stochastic processes obey the heavy-tailed Generalized Pareto Distribution with temporal sequence of pulses forming the set of constituent-specific Poisson processes. Being applied to intracellular dynamics, these properties are naturally associated with burstiness, a well documented phenomenon in the biology of gene expression.




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