Positive feedback may cause the biphasic response observed in the chemoattractant-induced response of Dictyostelium cells
After stimulation by chemoattractant, Dictyostelium cells exhibit a rapid response. The concentrations of several intracellular proteins rise rapidly reaching their maximum levels approximately 5-10 seconds, after which they return to prestimulus levels. This response, which is found in many other chemotaxing cells, is an example of a step disturbance rejection, a process known to biologists as perfect adaptation. Unlike other cells, however, the initial first peak observed in the chemoattractant-induced response of Dictyostelium cells is then followed by a slower, smaller phase peaking approximately one to two minutes after the stimulus. Until recently, the nature of this biphasic response has been poorly understood. Moreover, the origin for the second phase is unknown. In this paper we conjecture the existence of a feedback path between the response and stimulus. Using a mathematical model of the chemoattractant-induced response in cells, and standard tools from control engineering, we show that positive feedback may elicit this second peak.