Polarization - the clear and persistent localization of different signaling molecules to opposite ends of the cell - is critical for effective chemotaxis in eukaryotic systems. In many systems, polarization can also occur without an externally imposed chemical gradient. We build a modeling framework to study the relationship between the intrinsic capacity for polarization, and that induced by an external gradient. Working within this framework, we analyze different scenarios for the interaction of these pathways. The models are qualitatively simplified, motivated by known properties of the signaling pathways. We also examine the possible role of nonlinear transitions occurring in the polarization pathways. The modeling framework generates testable predictions regarding the relationship between intrinsic polarization and that induced during chemotaxis, and is the first step toward a systematic analysis of the interaction between these pathways.
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