Information Transfer via Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Receptors to ERK and NFAT: Sensing GnRH and Sensing Dynamics
Journal of the Endocrine Society
Oxford University Press
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Information theoretic approaches can be used to quantify information transfer via cell signaling networks. In this study, we do so for gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) in large numbers of individual fixed LβT2 and HeLa cells. Information transfer, measured by mutual information between GnRH and ERK or NFAT, was <1 bit (despite 3-bit system inputs). It was increased by sensing both ERK and NFAT, but the increase was <50%. In live cells, information transfer via GnRH receptors to NFAT was also <1 bit and was increased by consideration of response trajectory, but the increase was <10%. GnRH secretion is pulsatile, so we explored information gained by sensing a second pulse, developing a model of GnRH signaling to NFAT with variability introduced by allowing effectors to fluctuate. Simulations revealed that when cell–cell variability reflects rapidly fluctuating effector levels, additional information is gained by sensing two GnRH pulses, but where it is due to slowly fluctuating effectors, responses in one pulse are predictive of those in another, so little information is gained from sensing both. Wet laboratory experiments revealed that the latter scenario holds true for GnRH signaling; within the timescale of our experiments (1 to 2 hours), cell–cell variability in the NFAT pathway remains relatively constant, so trajectories are reproducible from pulse to pulse. Accordingly, joint sensing, sensing of response trajectories, and sensing of repeated pulses can all increase information transfer via GnRH receptors, but in each case the increase is small.
This work was supported by Biochemical and Biophysical Science Research Council Grant BBSRC BB/J014699/1 (to C.A.M. and K.T.-A.). M.V. acknowledges the support of the Medical Research Council (a strategic skills development fellowship in biomedical informatics) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council via Grant EP/N014391/1.
This is the final version of the article. Available from Oxford University Press via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 1 (4), pp. 260 - 277