Caister Academic Press

Take It Or Leave It: Mechanisms Underlying Bacterial Bistable Regulatory Networks

Jeroen Siebring, Robin A. Sorg, Martijn Herber and Oscar P. Kuipers
from: Bacterial Regulatory Networks (Edited by: Alain A.M. Filloux). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2012)


Bistable switches occur in regulatory networks that can exist in two distinct stable states. Such networks allow distinct switching of individual cells. In bacteria these switches coexist with regulatory networks that respond gradually to environmental input. Bistable switches play key roles in high investment processes such as cellular differentiation in which only the end-result of the process is functional. Bistable switches are involved in development of phenotypical traits, such as virulence, bacterial persistence, sporulation and production of valuable compounds like antibiotics. The phenomenon of bistable networks is here explained and discussed. Additionally, natural and evolutionary solutions for creating all-or-none regulatory decisions are described as well as the use of bistable networks in synthetic biology read more ...
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