Absolute robustness allows biochemical networks to sustain a consistent steady-state output in the face of protein concentration variability from cell to cell. This property is structural and can be determined from the topology of the network alone regardless of rate parameters. An important question regarding these systems is the effect of discrete biochemical noise in the dynamical behaviour. In this paper, a variable freezing technique is developed to show that under mild hypotheses the corresponding stochastic system has a transiently robust behaviour. Specifically, after finite time the distribution of the output approximates a Poisson distribution, centred around the deterministic mean. The approximation becomes increasingly accurate, and it holds for increasingly long finite times, as the total protein concentrations grow to infinity. In particular, the stochastic system retains a transient, absolutely robust behaviour corresponding to the deterministic case. This result contrasts with the long-term dynamics of the stochastic system, which eventually must undergo an extinction event that eliminates robustness and is completely different from the deterministic dynamics. The transiently robust behaviour may be sufficient to carry out many forms of robust signal transduction and cellular decision-making in cellular organisms.
- Received June 15, 2016.
- Accepted August 5, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.