Mean-field versus stochastic models for transcriptional regulation

R. Blossey*, C. V. Giuraniuc

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


We introduce a minimal model description for the dynamics of transcriptional regulatory networks. It is studied within a mean-field approximation, i.e., by deterministic ODE's representing the reaction kinetics, and by stochastic simulations employing the Gillespie algorithm. We elucidate the different results that both approaches can deliver, depending on the network under study, and in particular depending on the level of detail retained in the respective description. Two examples are addressed in detail: The repressilator, a transcriptional clock based on a three-gene network realized experimentally in E. coli, and a bistable two-gene circuit under external driving, a transcriptional network motif recently proposed to play a role in cellular development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number031909
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 2008

Bibliographical note

We thank Luca Cardelli, Andrew Phillips, and Yasushi Saka for discussions.


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