Bistable Behavior of the Lac Operon in E. Coli When Induced with a Mixture of Lactose and TMG

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Díaz-Hernández, Orlando ; Santillán, Moisés (2010)
  • Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation
  • Journal: Frontiers in Physiology, volume 1 (issn: 1664-042X, eissn: 1664-042X)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3389/fphys.2010.00022, pmc: PMC3059962
  • Subject: systems biology | computational biology | Physiology | Original Research | non-linear dynamics

In this work we investigate multistability in the lac operon of Escherichia coli when it is induced by a mixture of lactose and the non-metabolizable thiomethyl galactoside (TMG). In accordance with previously published experimental results and computer simulations, our simulations predict that: (1) when the system is induced by TMG, the system shows a discernible bistable behavior while, (2) when the system is induced by lactose, bistability does not disappear but excessively high concentrations of lactose would be required to observe it. Finally, our simulation results predict that when a mixture of lactose and TMG is used, the bistability region in the extracellular glucose concentration vs. extracellular lactose concentration parameter space changes in such a way that the model predictions regarding bistability could be tested experimentally. These experiments could help to solve a recent controversy regarding the existence of bistability in the lac operon under natural conditions.
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