Using a Gaussian model, we study the transmission of time-varying biochemical signals through feed-forward motifs and diamond motifs. To this end, we compute the frequency dependence of the gain, the noise, as well as their ratio, the gain-to-noise ratio, which measures how reliably a network transmits signals at different frequencies. We find that both coherent and incoherent feed-forward motifs can either act as low-pass or high-pass filters for information: The frequency dependence of the gain-to-noise ratio increases or decreases with increasing frequency, respectively. Our analysis of diamond motifs reveals that cooperative activation of the output component can increase the gain-to-noise ratio. This means that from the perspective of information transmission, it can be beneficial to split the input signal in two and recombine the two propagated signals at the output. Cooperative activation can be implemented via the formation of homo- or heteromultimers that then bind and activate the output component or via the binding of individual molecules of the intermediate species to the output component.

Phys. Rev. E
Biochemical Networks

de Ronde, W. H., Tostevin, F., & ten Wolde, P. R. (2012). Feed-forward loops and diamond motifs lead to tunable transmission of information in the frequency domain. Phys. Rev. E, 86(2, Article number: 21913), 1–24. doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.86.021913