Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Entrainment of heterogeneous glycolytic oscillations in single cells

Anna-Karin Gustavsson, Caroline B. Adiels, Bernhard Mehlig & Mattias Goksör

Cell signaling, gene expression, and metabolism are affected by cell-cell heterogeneity and random changes in the environment. The effects of such fluctuations on cell signaling and gene expression have recently been studied intensively using single-cell experiments. In metabolism heterogeneity may be particularly important because it may affect synchronisation of metabolic oscillations, an important example of cell-cell communication. This synchronisation is notoriously difficult to describe theoretically as the example of glycolytic oscillations shows: neither is the mechanism of glycolytic synchronisation understood nor the role of cell-cell heterogeneity. To pin down the mechanism and to assess its robustness and universality we have experimentally investigated the entrainment of glycolytic oscillations in individual yeast cells by periodic external perturbations. We find that oscillatory cells synchronise through phase shifts and that the mechanism is insensitive to cell heterogeneity (robustness) and similar for different types of external perturbations (universality).

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