Reliability of frequency and amplitude decoding in gene regulation

Phys Rev Lett. 2012 Mar 9;108(10):108104. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.108104. Epub 2012 Mar 8.


In biochemical signaling, information is often encoded in oscillatory signals. However, the advantages of such a coding strategy over an amplitude-encoding scheme of constant signals remain unclear. Here we study the dynamics of a simple model gene promoter in response to oscillating and constant transcription factor signals. We find that in biologically relevant parameter regimes an oscillating input can produce a more constant protein level than a constant input. Our results suggest that oscillating signals may be used to minimize noise in gene regulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Clocks / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • Transcription Factors