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Origins of Stochasticity and Burstiness in High-Dimensional Biochemical Networks

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Author(s): Rosenfeld Simon

Journal: EURASIP Journal on Bioinformatics and Systems Biology
ISSN 1687-4145

Volume: 2009;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 362309;
Date: 2009;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Two major approaches are known in the field of stochastic dynamics of intracellular biochemical networks. The first one places the focus of attention on the fact that many biochemical constituents vitally important for the network functionality may be present only in small quantities within the cell, and therefore the regulatory process is essentially discrete and prone to relatively big fluctuations. The second approach treats the regulatory process as essentially continuous. Complex pseudostochastic behavior in such processes may occur due to multistability and oscillatory motions within limit cycles. In this paper we outline the third scenario of stochasticity in the regulatory process. This scenario is only conceivable in high-dimensional highly nonlinear systems. In particular, we show that burstiness, a well-known phenomenon in the biology of gene expression, is a natural consequence of high dimensionality coupled with high nonlinearity. In mathematical terms, burstiness is associated with heavy-tailed probability distributions of stochastic processes describing the dynamics of the system. We demonstrate how the "shot" noise originates from purely deterministic behavior of the underlying dynamical system. We conclude that the limiting stochastic process may be accurately approximated by the "heavy-tailed" generalized Pareto process which is a direct mathematical expression of burstiness.

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