Sporulation vs. competence provides a prototypic example of collective cell fate determination. The decision is performed by the action of three modules: 1) A stochastic competence switch whose transition probability is regulated by population density, population stress and cell stress. 2) A sporulation timer whose clock rate is regulated by cell stress and population stress. 3) A decision gate that is coupled to the timer via a special repressilator-like loop. We show that the distinct circuit architecture of this gate leads to special dynamics and noise management characteristics: The gate opens a time-window of opportunity for competence transitions during which it generates oscillations that are turned into a chain of transition opportunities – each oscillation opens a short interval with high transition probability. The special architecture of the gate also leads to filtering of external noise and robustness against internal noise and variations in the circuit parameters.
Turning Oscillations Into Opportunities: Lessons from a Bacterial Decision Gate
Daniel Schultz, Mingyang Lu, Trevor Stavropoulos, Jose' Onuchic & Eshel Ben-Jacob
Scientific Reports 3, Article number: 1668 http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep01668
Via Complexity Digest