Using fluctuation analysis to establish causal relations between cellular events without experimental perturbation

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Abstract

Experimental perturbations are commonly used to establish causal relationships between the molecular components of a pathway and their cellular functions; however, this approach suffers inherent limitations. Especially in pathways with a significant level of nonlinearity and redundancy among components, such perturbations induce compensatory responses that obscure the actual function of the targeted component in the unperturbed pathway. A complementary approach uses constitutive fluctuations in component activities to identify the hierarchy of information flow through pathways. Here, we review the motivation for using perturbation-free approaches and highlight recent advances made in using perturbation-free fluctuation analysis as a means to establish causality among cellular events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2492-2498
Number of pages7
JournalBiophysical Journal
Volume107
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 8 2014

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Causality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics

Cite this

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AB - Experimental perturbations are commonly used to establish causal relationships between the molecular components of a pathway and their cellular functions; however, this approach suffers inherent limitations. Especially in pathways with a significant level of nonlinearity and redundancy among components, such perturbations induce compensatory responses that obscure the actual function of the targeted component in the unperturbed pathway. A complementary approach uses constitutive fluctuations in component activities to identify the hierarchy of information flow through pathways. Here, we review the motivation for using perturbation-free approaches and highlight recent advances made in using perturbation-free fluctuation analysis as a means to establish causality among cellular events.

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