Molecular, metabolic, and genetic control: an introduction
Tyson, J. J.
Mackey, M. C.
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The living cell is a miniature, self-reproducing, biochemical machine. Like all machines, it has a power supply, a set of working components that carry out its necessary tasks, and control systems that ensure the proper coordination of these tasks. In this Special Issue, we focus on the molecular regulatory systems that control cell metabolism, gene expression, environmental responses, development, and reproduction. As for the control systems in human-engineered machines, these regulatory networks can be described by nonlinear dynamical equations, for example, ordinary differential equations, reaction-diffusion equations, stochastic differential equations, or cellular automata. The articles collected here illustrate (i) a range of theoretical problems presented by modern concepts of cellular regulation, (ii) some strategies for converting molecular mechanisms into dynamical systems, (iii) some useful mathematical tools for analyzing and simulating these systems, and (iv) the sort of results that derive from serious interplay between theory and experiment. (C) 2001 American Institute of Physics.