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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering
SJR: 0.207 SNIP: 0.376 CiteScore™: 0.79

ISSN Print: 0278-940X
ISSN Online: 1943-619X

Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevBiomedEng.2017019658
pages 193-211

Asymmetry in Signal Oscillations Contributes to Efficiency of Periodic Systems

Seul-A Bae
Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Department, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey
Alison Acevedo
Biomedical Engineering Department, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey
Ioannis P. Androulakis
Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Department, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey; Biomedical Engineering Department, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey; Department of Surgery, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, New Jersey


Oscillations are an important feature of cellular signaling that result from complex combinations of positive- and negative-feedback loops. The encoding and decoding mechanisms of oscillations based on amplitude and frequency have been extensively discussed in the literature in the context of intercellular and intracellular signaling. However, the fundamental questions of whether and how oscillatory signals offer any competitive advantages−and, if so, what−have not been fully answered. We investigated established oscillatory mechanisms and designed a study to analyze the oscillatory characteristics of signaling molecules and system output in an effort to answer these questions. Two classic oscillators, Goodwin and PER, were selected as the model systems, and corresponding no-feedback models were created for each oscillator to discover the advantage of oscillating signals. Through simulating the original oscillators and the matching no-feedback models, we show that oscillating systems have the capability to achieve better resource-to-output efficiency, and we identify oscillatory characteristics that lead to improved efficiency.

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