[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Accuracy in cellular function has to be achieved despite random fluctuations (noise) in the concentrations of different molecular constituents inside and outside the cell. The circadian oscillator in cyanobacteria is an example of resilience to noise. This resilience could be either the consequence of intercellular communication or the intrinsic property of the built-in biochemical network. Here we investigate the intercellular coupling hypothesis. A short theoretical depiction of interacting noisy phase oscillators, confirmed by numerical simulations, allows us to discriminate the effect of coupling from noise. Experimentally, by studying the phase of concurrent populations of different initial phases, we evaluate a very small upper limit of the intercellular coupling strength. In addition, in situ entrainment experiments confirm our ability to detect a coupling of the circadian oscillator to an external force and to describe explicitly the dynamic change of the mean phase. We demonstrate, therefore, that the cyanobacterial clock stability is a built-in property as the intercellular coupling effect is negligible.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2007; 104(17):7051-6. · 9.74 Impact Factor