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I Nemenman. Gain control in molecular information processing: Lessons from neuroscience. Physical Biology 9, 026003 2012. PDF, arXiv.
- Statistical properties of environments experienced by biological signaling systems in the real world change, which necessitate adaptive responses to achieve high fidelity information transmission. One form of such adaptive response is gain control. Here we argue that a certain simple mechanism of gain control, understood well in the context of systems neuroscience, also works for molecular signaling. The mechanism allows to transmit more than one bit (on or off) of information about the signal independently of the signal variance. It does not require additional molecular circuitry beyond that already present in many molecular systems, and, in particular, it does not depend on existence of feedback loops. The mechanism provides a potential explanation for abundance of ultrasensitive response curves in biological regulatory networks.