Dissipative structures and biological rhythms

Author: Albert Goldbeter1
1 Unité de Chronobiologie théorique, Service de Chimie physique et Biologie théorique, Faculté des Sciences, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Campus Plaine, CP 231, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium.
Conference/Journal: Chaos
Date published: 2017 Oct 1
Other: Volume ID: 27 , Issue ID: 10 , Pages: 104612 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1063/1.4990783. , Word Count: 266

Sustained oscillations abound in biological systems. They occur at all levels of biological organization over a wide range of periods, from a fraction of a second to years, and with a variety of underlying mechanisms. They control major physiological functions, and their dysfunction is associated with a variety of physiological disorders. The goal of this review is (i) to give an overview of the main rhythms observed at the cellular and supracellular levels, (ii) to briefly describe how the study of biological rhythms unfolded in the course of time, in parallel with studies on chemical oscillations, (iii) to present the major roles of biological rhythms in the control of physiological functions, and (iv) the pathologies associated with the alteration, disappearance, or spurious occurrence of biological rhythms. Two tables present the main examples of cellular and supracellular rhythms ordered according to their period, and their role in physiology and pathophysiology. Among the rhythms discussed are neural and cardiac rhythms, metabolic oscillations such as those occurring in glycolysis in yeast, intracellular Ca++ oscillations, cyclic AMP oscillations in Dictyostelium amoebae, the segmentation clock that controls somitogenesis, pulsatile hormone secretion, circadian rhythms which occur in all eukaryotes and some bacteria with a period close to 24 h, the oscillatory dynamics of the enzymatic network driving the cell cycle, and oscillations in transcription factors such as NF-ΚB and tumor suppressors such as p53. Ilya Prigogine's concept of dissipative structures applies to temporal oscillations and allows us to unify within a common framework the various rhythms observed at different levels of biological organization, regardless of their period and underlying mechanism.

PMID: 29092409 DOI: 10.1063/1.4990783