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Dose-response alignment" (DoRA), where the downstream response of cellular signaling pathways closely matches the fraction of activated receptor, can improve the fidelity of dose information transmission. The negative feedback has been experimentally identified as a key component for DoRA, but numerical simulations indicate that negative feedback is not sufficient to achieve perfect DoRA, i.e., perfect match of downstream response and receptor activation level. Thus a natural question is whether there exist design principles for signaling motifs within only negative feedback loops to improve DoRA to near-perfect DoRA. Here, we investigated several model formulations of an experimentally validated circuit that couples two molecular switches-mGTPase (monomeric GTPase) and tGTPase (heterotrimeric GTPases) - with negative feedback loops. In the absence of feedback, the low and intermediate mGTPase activation levels benefit DoRA in mass action and Hill-function models, respectively. Adding negative feedback has versatile roles on DoRA: it may impair DoRA in the mass action model with low mGTPase activation level and Hill-function model with intermediate mGTPase activation level; in other cases, i.e., the mass action model with a high mGTPase activation level or the Hill-function model with a non-intermediate mGTPase activation level, it improves DoRA. Furthermore, we found that DoRA in a longer cascade (i.e., tGTPase) can be obtained using Hill-function kinetics under certain conditions. In summary, we show how ranges of activity of mGTPase, reaction kinetics, the negative feedback, and the cascade length affect DoRA. This work provides a framework for improving the DoRA performance in signaling motifs with negative feedback. © 2023. The Author(s).


Lingxia Qiao, Pradipta Ghosh, Padmini Rangamani. Design principles of improving the dose-response alignment in coupled GTPase switches. NPJ systems biology and applications. 2023 Jan 31;9(1):3

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PMID: 36720885

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