A cellular solution to an information-processing problem.

TitleA cellular solution to an information-processing problem.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsIyengar G, Rao M
JournalProc Natl Acad Sci U S A
Date Published2014 Aug 26
KeywordsAutomatic Data Processing, Computational Biology, Information Theory, Models, Biological, Receptors, Cell Surface, Signal Transduction, Stochastic Processes

Signaling receptors on the cell surface are mobile and have evolved to efficiently sense and process mechanical or chemical information. We pose the problem of identifying the optimal strategy for placing a collection of distributed and mobile sensors to faithfully estimate a signal that varies in space and time. The optimal strategy has to balance two opposing objectives: the need to locally assemble sensors to reduce estimation noise and the need to spread them to reduce spatial error. This results in a phase transition in the space of strategies as a function of sensor density and efficiency. We show that these optimal strategies have been arrived at multiple times in diverse cell biology contexts, including the stationary lattice architecture of receptors on the bacterial cell surface and the active clustering of cell-surface signaling receptors in metazoan cells.

Alternate JournalProc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PubMed ID25114246
PubMed Central IDPMC4151762
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