Adaptive responses limited by intrinsic noise

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Sensory systems have mechanisms to respond to the external environment and adapt to them. Such adaptive responses are effective for a wide dynamic range of sensing and perception of temporal change in stimulus. However, noise generated by the adaptation system itself as well as extrinsic noise in sensory inputs may impose a limit on the ability of adaptation systems. The relation between response and noise is well understood for equilibrium systems in the form of fluctuation response relation. However, the relation for nonequilibrium systems, including adaptive systems, are poorly understood. Here, we systematically explore such a relation between response and fluctuation in adaptation systems. We study the two network motifs, incoherent feedforward loops (iFFL) and negative feedback loops (nFBL), that can achieve perfect adaptation. We find that the response magnitude in adaption systems is limited by its intrinsic noise, implying that higher response would have higher noise component as well. Comparing the relation of response and noise in iFFL and nFBL, we show that whereas iFFL exhibits adaptation over a wider parameter range, nFBL offers higher response to noise ratio than iFFL. We also identify the condition that yields the upper limit of response for both network motifs. These results may explain the reason of why nFBL seems to be more abundant in nature for the implementation of adaption systems.




Shankar, P., Nishikawa, M., & Shibata, T. (2015). Adaptive responses limited by intrinsic noise. PLoS ONE, 10(8).

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