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Journal Articles Journal of Mathematical Biology Year : 2021

Monostability and bistability of biological switches


Cell-fate transition can be modeled by ordinary differential equations (ODEs) which describe the behavior of several molecules in interaction, and for which each stable equilibrium corresponds to a possible phenotype (or 'biological trait'). In this paper, we focus on simple ODE systems modeling two molecules which each negatively (or positively) regulate the other. It is well-known that such models may lead to monostability or multistability, depending on the selected parameters. However, extensive numerical simulations have led systems biologists to conjecture that in the vast majority of cases, there cannot be more than two stable points. Our main result is a proof of this conjecture. More specifically, we provide a criterion ensuring at most bistability, which is indeed satisfied by most commonly used functions. This includes Hill functions, but also a wide family of convex and sigmoid functions. We also determine which parameters lead to monostability, and which lead to bistability, by developing a more general framework encompassing all our results.
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hal-03190534 , version 1 (08-04-2021)



Jules Guilberteau, Camille Pouchol, Nastassia Pouradier Duteil. Monostability and bistability of biological switches. Journal of Mathematical Biology, 2021, 83 (6-7), pp.65. ⟨10.1007/s00285-021-01687-y⟩. ⟨hal-03190534⟩
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