Stochastic oscillations in small genetic networks

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 - 8:45am - 9:45am
EE/CS 3-180
Lev Tsimring (University of California)
One of the defining characteristics of life is the ability to
keep time, which organisms often achieve by using internal
genetic clocks to govern fundamental cellular behavior.
While the gene networks that produce oscillatory expression
signals are typically quite elaborate, certain recurring
network motifs are often found at the core of these biological
clocks. In this lecture, I will describe our recent
experimental and theoretical work on small genetic networks
exhibiting oscillatory behavior. One common motif which may
lead to oscillations is delayed auto-repression. We
constructed synthetic oscillators based on this design
principle, and observed robust and tunable oscillations both in
bacteria and yeast. Since genetic systems typically involve
small number of reacting components, intrinsic fluctuations
play an important role in the dynamics. I will introduce
theoretical and computational tools which can be used for
modeling stochastic dynamics of small genetic networks.
MSC Code: