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Periodic metabolic systems: Oscillations in multiple-loop negative feedback biochemical control networks

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For a general multiple loop feedback inhibition system in which the end product can inhibit any or all of the intermediate reactions it is shown that biologically significant behaviour is always confined to a bounded region of reaction space containing a unique equilibrium. By explicit construction of a Liapunov function for the general n dimensional differential equation it is shown that some values of reaction parameters cause the concentration vector to approach the equilibrium asymptotically for all physically realizable initial conditions. As the parameter values change, periodic solutions can appear within the bounded region. Some information about these periodic solutions can be obtained from the Hopf bifurcation theorem. Alternatively, if specific parameter values are known a numerical method can be used to find periodic solutions and determine their stability by locating a zero of the displacement map. The single loop Goodwin oscillator is analysed in detail. The methods are then used to treat an oscillator with two feedback loops and it is found that oscillations are possible even if both Hill coefficients are equal to one.

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Mees, A.I., Rapp, P.E. Periodic metabolic systems: Oscillations in multiple-loop negative feedback biochemical control networks. J. Math. Biology 5, 99–114 (1978). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00275893

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  • Periodic Solution
  • Hopf Bifurcation
  • Hill Coefficient
  • Unique Equilibrium
  • Significant Behaviour