Research Abstract


Maxwell’s demon in biochemical signal transduction with feedback loop

2015年6月23日 Nature Communications 6 : 7498 doi: 10.1038/ncomms8498


Sosuke Ito & Takahiro Sagawa

Corresponding Author

伊藤 創祐
東京大学大学院 理学系研究科 物理学専攻

Signal transduction in living cells is vital to maintain life itself, where information transfer in noisy environment plays a significant role. In a rather different context, the recent intensive research on ‘Maxwell's demon’—a feedback controller that utilizes information of individual molecules—have led to a unified theory of information and thermodynamics. Here we combine these two streams of research, and show that the second law of thermodynamics with information reveals the fundamental limit of the robustness of signal transduction against environmental fluctuations. Especially, we find that the degree of robustness is quantitatively characterized by an informational quantity called transfer entropy. Our information-thermodynamic approach is applicable to biological communication inside cells, in which there is no explicit channel coding in contrast to artificial communication. Our result could open up a novel biophysical approach to understand information processing in living systems on the basis of the fundamental information–thermodynamics link.