Competitive Inhibition Can Linearize Dose-Response and Generate a Linear Rectifier

Yonatan Savir, Benjamin P. Tu, Michael Springer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Summary Many biological responses require a dynamic range that is larger than standard bi-molecular interactions allow, yet have the ability to remain off at low input. Here, we mathematically show that an enzyme reaction system involving a combination of competitive inhibition, conservation of the total level of substrate and inhibitor, and positive feedback can behave like a linear rectifier - that is, a network motif with an input-output relationship that is linearly sensitive to substrate above a threshold but unresponsive below the threshold. We propose that the evolutionarily conserved yeast SAGA histone acetylation complex may possess the proper physiological response characteristics and molecular interactions needed to perform as a linear rectifier, and we suggest potential experiments to test this hypothesis. One implication of this work is that linear responses and linear rectifiers might be easier to evolve or synthetically construct than is currently appreciated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number36
Pages (from-to)238-245
Number of pages8
JournalCell Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 23 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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