Cinquin Lab

Roles of positive and negative feedback in biological systems

Cinquin O., Demongeot J., C.R. Biol. 325(11), pp1085-1095 (2002)


We discuss the influence of positive and negative feedback on the stability of a system, which is not clear-cut, and involves complex, mathematical problems. We show in particular that positive feedback can have a stabilising effect on some systems. We also point out the role that positive feedback plays in the digital treatment of signals required by cellular signalling, drawing on analogies from electronics, and the role that negative feedback plays in making a system robust against alteration of its parameters. Both positive and negative feedback can be seen as important enhancers of the properties of biological systems.