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Tandem repeats: a sensory apparatus made of DNA?

About microscopic forms of life, including Bacteria, Archea, protozoans, algae and fungi. Topics relating to viruses, viroids and prions also belong here.

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Tandem repeats: a sensory apparatus made of DNA?

Postby hanandmark » Mon Sep 15, 2008 12:36 pm

Hi all,

While discussing tandem repeats in HSV-1 the other day, myself and my girlfriend developed the following hypothesis for a viral sensory system composed of DNA. We thought it was eye-opening, and that we should contact other scientists and describe it. Let us know what you think...

* A receptive field of a genome may detect levels of distinguishing transcription factors present in a specific cell type or under specific cellular conditions.

* High temporal resolution and fidelity of a sensory apparatus may develop in parallel with systems to integrate and transduce this information, and systems to respond to it.

* Tandem repeats may have the capacity to mediate each of these roles.

A sensory apparatus may detect transcription factors through interactions, but for high temporal resolution, these interactions may be transient (as occurring at degenerate consensus sequences).

The apparatus may detect levels of more than one transcription factor for fidelity.

If only one receptor (one repeat) is present, then information stored in the form of transiently interacting transcription factors (say two) may not reflect the state of the environment at any one time:
Image
When there are multiple receptors (multiple repeats), stochastic information storage may be more reliable:
Image
Should a system exist to transduce information stored in this manner, and the potential exist in associated systems to exploit it, effectors may mediate a stochastic response. A stochastic response may be nothing, or any whole number of things. Note that coding repeat sequences can, in some cases, expand or contract to mediate adaptive responses.
hanandmark
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