A biomolecular proportional integral controller based on feedback regulations of protein level and activity

Type Article
Date 2018-02
Language English
Author(s) Mairet FrancisORCID1, 2
Affiliation(s) 1 : INRIA, Biocore, Sophia Antipolis, France.
2 : IFREMER, Physiol & Biotechnol Algae Lab, Nantes, France.
Source Royal Society Open Science (2054-5703) (Royal Soc), 2018-02 , Vol. 5 , N. 2 , P. 171966 (11p.)
DOI 10.1098/rsos.171966
WOS© Times Cited 10
Keyword(s) homeostasis, perfect adaptation, regulatory motif, transcriptional and post-translational regulations

Homeostasis is the capacity of living organisms to keep internal conditions regulated at a constant level, despite environmental fluctuations. Integral feedback control is known to play a key role in this behaviour. Here, I show that a feedback system involving transcriptional and post-translational regulations of the same executor protein acts as a proportional integral (PI) controller, leading to enhanced transient performances in comparison with a classical integral loop. Such a biomolecular controller-which I call a level and activity-PI controller (LA-PI)-is involved in the regulation of ammonium uptake by Escherichia coli through the transporter AmtB. The P-II molecules, which reflect the nitrogen status of the cell, inhibit both the production of AmtB and its activity (via the NtrB-NtrC system and the formation of a complex with GlnK, respectively). Other examples of LA-PI controller include copper and zinc transporters, and the redox regulation in photosynthesis. This scheme has thus emerged through evolution in many biological systems, surely because of the benefits it offers in terms of performances (rapid and perfect adaptation) and economy (protein production according to needs).

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