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Dynamical behaviour of biological regulatory networks--II. Immunity control in bacteriophage lambda.

TitleDynamical behaviour of biological regulatory networks--II. Immunity control in bacteriophage lambda.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsThieffry D, Thomas R
JournalBulletin of mathematical biology
Date Published1995 Mar
KeywordsBacteria, Bacteriophage lambda, Feedback, Genes, Bacterial, Genes, Viral, Genome, Viral, Models, Genetic, Models, Immunological, Models, Theoretical

A number of bacterial and viral genes take part in the decision between lysis and lysogenization in temperate bacteriophages. In the lambda case, at least five viral genes (cI, cro, cII, N and cIII) and several bacterial genes are involved. Several attempts have been made to model this complex regulatory network. Our approach is based on a logical method described in the first paper of the series which formalizes the interactions between the elements of a regulatory network in terms of discrete variables, functions and parameters. In this paper two models are described and discussed, the first (two-variable model) focused on cI and cro interactions, the second (four-variable model) considering, in addition, genes cII and N. The treatment presented emphasizes the roles of positive and negative feedback loops and their interactions in the development of the phage. The role of the loops between cI and cro, and of cI on itself (which both have to be positive loops) was discovered earlier; this group's contribution to this aspect mainly deals with the possibility of treating these loops as parts of a more extended network. In contrast, the role of the negative loop of cro on itself had apparently remained unexplained. We realized that this loop buffers the expression of genes cro itself. cII, O and P against the inflation due to the rapid replication of the phage. More generally, negative auto-control of a gene appears an efficient way to render its expression insensitive (or less sensitive) to gene dosage, whereas a simple negative control would not provide this result.

Alternate JournalBull. Math. Biol.

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