Description: Many cellular processes are complex yet only partially characterized. Constructing realistic models thus often requires making a large number of speculative assumptions. Instead of ignoring or guessing unknown details, I will present a theoretical framework to rigorously characterize fluctuations within incompletely specified biochemical reaction systems. By analyzing broad classes of systems that share some
features but are left to vary arbitrarily in all unknown features, we can derive performance bounds that limit the ability of cellular processes to control cell-to-cell variability. For example, we showed that making biochemical complexes efficiently must invariably lead to large fluctuations in molecular concentrations, and that eliminating variability in one cellular component requires creating heterogeneity in another. Such universal trade-offs can give us insights into the design principles of cellular processes even when our knowledge of them is necessarily incomplete.
Speaker:Dr. Andreas Hilfinger
Institution: University of Toronto
Host: Cecile Fradin