Stochastic switching in systems with rare and hidden attractors
Complex biochemical networks are commonly characterised by the coexistence of multiple stable attractors. This endows living systems with plasticity in responses under changing external conditions, thereby enhancing their probability for survival. However, the type of such attractors as well as their positioning can hinder the likelihood to randomly visit these areas in phase space, thereby effectively decreasing the level of multistability in the system. Using a model based on the Hodgkin–Huxley formalism with bistability between a silent state, which is a rare attractor, and oscillatory bursting attractor, we demonstrate that the noise-induced switching between these two stable attractors depends on the structure of the phase space and the disposition of the coexisting attractors to each other.
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