Robust transmission of information despite the presence of variation is a fundamental problem in cellular functions. However, the capability and characteristics of information transmission in signaling pathways remain poorly understood. We describe robustness and compensation of information transmission of signaling pathways at the cell population level. We calculated the mutual information transmitted through signaling pathways for the growth factor-mediated gene expression. Growth factors appeared to carry only information sufficient for a binary decision. Information transmission was generally more robust than average signal intensity despite pharmacological perturbations, and compensation of information transmission occurred. Information transmission to the biological output of neurite extension appeared robust. Cells may use information entropy as information so that messages can be robustly transmitted despite variation in molecular activities among individual cells.
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