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Signalling in E. coli chemotaxis as an example of evolutionary optimization

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Chemotaxis on Escherichia coli is the most thoroughly studied model system for signal transduction and simple behaviour. Despite its apparent simplicity, the chemotaxis network shows extremely high sensitivity, wide dynamic range and surprising robustness against different kinds of perturbations. To better understand these features, we quantitatively analyzed intracellular dynamics of the network using a combination of fluorescence microscopy techniques, including fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP). We further studied robustness of the network against gene expression noise and thermal perturbations. Our theoretical and experimental analyses suggests that nearly all features of the network have been evolutionary optimized and allows us to speculate about the driving forces behind the network evolution.

This talk is part of the European Bioinformatics Institute series.

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