Noise-induced cooperative behavior in a multicell system
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Motivation: All cell components exhibit intracellular noise on account of random births and deaths of individual molecules, and extracellu- lar noise because of environment perturbations. Gene regulation in particular, is an inherently noisy process with transcriptional control, alternative splicing, translation, diffusion and chemical modification reactions, all of which involve stochastic fluctuations. Such stochastic noises may not only affect the dynamics of the entire system but may also be exploited by living organisms to actively facilitate certain functions, such as cooperative behavior and communication. Results: We have provided a general model and an analytic tool to examine the cooperative behavior of a multicell system with both intra- cellular and extracellular stochastic fluctuations. A multicell system with a synthetic gene network is adopted to demonstrate the effects of noises and coupling on collective dynamics. These results establish not only a theoretical foundation but also a quantitative basis for under- standing essential roles of noises on cooperative dynamics, such as synchronization and communication among cells.