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Open Access Open Badges Research article

A systematic molecular circuit design method for gene networks under biochemical time delays and molecular noises

Bor-Sen Chen* and Yu-Te Chang

Author Affiliations

Lab of Control and Systems Biology, Department of Electrical Engineering, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan 30013, ROC

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BMC Systems Biology 2008, 2:103  doi:10.1186/1752-0509-2-103

Published: 27 November 2008



Gene networks in nanoscale are of nonlinear stochastic process. Time delays are common and substantial in these biochemical processes due to gene transcription, translation, posttranslation protein modification and diffusion. Molecular noises in gene networks come from intrinsic fluctuations, transmitted noise from upstream genes, and the global noise affecting all genes. Knowledge of molecular noise filtering and biochemical process delay compensation in gene networks is crucial to understand the signal processing in gene networks and the design of noise-tolerant and delay-robust gene circuits for synthetic biology.


A nonlinear stochastic dynamic model with multiple time delays is proposed for describing a gene network under process delays, intrinsic molecular fluctuations, and extrinsic molecular noises. Then, the stochastic biochemical processing scheme of gene regulatory networks for attenuating these molecular noises and compensating process delays is investigated from the nonlinear signal processing perspective. In order to improve the robust stability for delay toleration and noise filtering, a robust gene circuit for nonlinear stochastic time-delay gene networks is engineered based on the nonlinear robust Hstochastic filtering scheme. Further, in order to avoid solving these complicated noise-tolerant and delay-robust design problems, based on Takagi-Sugeno (T-S) fuzzy time-delay model and linear matrix inequalities (LMIs) technique, a systematic gene circuit design method is proposed to simplify the design procedure.


The proposed gene circuit design method has much potential for application to systems biology, synthetic biology and drug design when a gene regulatory network has to be designed for improving its robust stability and filtering ability of disease-perturbed gene network or when a synthetic gene network needs to perform robustly under process delays and molecular noises.