Studies of quantitative systems and synthetic biology have extensively utilized models to interpret data, make predictions, and guide experimental designs. However, models often simplify complex biological systems and lack experimentally validated parameters, making their reliability in perturbed systems unclear. Here, we developed a droplet-based synthetic cell system to continuously tune parameters at the single-cell level in multiple dimensions with full dynamic ranges, providing an experimental framework for global parameter space scans. We systematically perturbed a cell-cycle oscillator centered on cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk1), enabling comprehensive mapping of period landscapes in response to network perturbations. The data allowed us to challenge existing models and refine a new model that matches the observed response. Our analysis demonstrated that Cdk1 positive feedback inhibition restricts the cell cycle frequency range, confirming model predictions; furthermore, it revealed new cellular responses to the inhibition of the Cdk1-counteracting phosphatase PP2A: monomodal or bimodal distributions across varying inhibition levels, underscoring the complex nature of cell cycle regulation that can be explained by our model. This comprehensive perturbation platform may be generalizable to exploring other complex dynamic systems.

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