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CeNS Colloquium

Date:18.12.2020, Time: 15:30h

Decision-making in artificial cells: the limits of biological computation

Dr. Ferdinand Greiss, Weizmann Institute of Science

The genome of a living cell acts as central processing unit that elicits an appropriate response to external information. It remained a challenge to test the dynamics of single gene circuits outside living cells in a well-defined environment with constant protein turn-over. Here, we programmed artificial cells with a minimal bistable gene circuit and revealed a transition from fuzzy and rapid decision-making to precise and slow computation by a 10^5-fold drop in the number of computing genetic circuits [1]. The natural gene circuit worked despite noisy gene expression at small copy numbers, suggesting 100-fold rate enhancement through the co-expressional localization of transcription factors. Our work sheds light on biological mechanisms to counteract noise, the tolerance for fuzzy, but timely decision-making in living cells, and guiding principles for the construction of artificial cells with low energetic cost.

[1] Greiss, F., Daube, S.S., Noireaux, V., Bar-Ziv, R. (2020). From deterministic to fuzzy decision-making in artificial cells. Nature Communications 11, 5648.

Registration URL: meetanyway.com/events/cens-colloquium-0xm8
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