Plasmids are self-replicating gene clusters present in on average 2-100 copies per bacterial cell. To reduce random fluctuations and thereby avoid extinction, they ubiquitously autoregulate their own synthesis using negative feedback loops. Here I use van Kampen's Ω-expansion for a two-dimensional model of negative feedback including plasmids and ther replication inhibitors. This analytically summarizes the standard perspective on replication control -- including the effects of sensitivity amplification, exponential time-delays and noisy signaling. I further review the two most common molecular sensitivity mechanisms: multistep control and cooperativity. Finally, I discuss more controversial sensitivity schemes, such as noise-enhanced sensitivity, the exploitation of small-number combinatorics and double-layered feedback loops to suppress noise in disordered environments.
Conference Committee Involvement (1)
Fluctuations and Noise in Biological, Biophysical, and Biomedical Systems II
26 May 2004 | Maspalomas, Gran Canaria Island, Spain