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In Silico Evolution of Biochemical Log-Response

Hemery, Mathieu, François, Paul
TheJournal of physical chemistry 2019 v.123 no.10 pp. 2235-2243
algorithms, chemotaxis, ligands, phosphorylation
Numerous biological systems are known to harbor a form of logarithmic behavior, from Weber’s law to bacterial chemotaxis. Such a log-response allows for sensitivity to small relative variations of biochemical inputs over a large range of concentration values. Here we use a genetic algorithm to evolve biochemical networks displaying a logarithmic response. A quasi-perfect log-response implemented by the same core network evolves in a convergent way across our different in silico replications. The best network is able to fit a logarithm over 4 orders of magnitude with an accuracy of the order of 1%. At the heart of this network, we show that a logarithmic approximation may be implemented with one single nonlinear interaction, that can be interpreted either as multisite phosphorylations or as a ligand induced multimerization. We provide an analytical explanation for the effect and exhibit constraints on parameters. Biological log-response might thus be easier to implement than usually assumed.