Oscillatory signaling processes: the how, the why and the where

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2010 Dec;20(6):665-9. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2010.08.007.


Oscillatory processes in biological signal transduction have come under progressively increasing scrutiny in terms of their functional significance and mechanisms of emergence and regulation. Since oscillatory processes can be a by-product of rapid adaptation and can also easily emerge if the feedback underlying adaptive processes is inadvertently artificially enhanced, one needs to exercise caution in both claiming the existence of in vivo oscillations and seeking to assign to them a specific functional significance. Nevertheless, oscillations can be a powerful means of encoding and transferring information both in time and in space, thus possessing important potential advantages for evolutionary selection and stabilization. Thus periodicity in the cell responses to diverse persistent external stimuli might become a more recognized and even expected feature of signaling processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Biological Clocks*
  • Humans
  • Signal Transduction*