Models in biology: lessons from modeling regulation of the eukaryotic cell cycle

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Biomed Central

In this essay we illustrate some general principles of mathematical modeling in biology by our experiences in studying the molecular regulatory network underlying eukaryotic cell division. We discuss how and why the models moved from simple, parsimonious cartoons to more complex, detailed mechanisms with many kinetic parameters. We describe how the mature models made surprising and informative predictions about the control system that were later confirmed experimentally. Along the way, we comment on the ‘parameter estimation problem’ and conclude with an appeal for a greater role for mathematical models in molecular cell biology.

Biology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine - Other Topics, Mathematical models, Mitosis-promoting factor, Cell cycle checkpoints, Regulated kinases, Regulated phosphatases, Regulated proteolysis, MATURATION-PROMOTING FACTOR, XENOPUS-OOCYTE EXTRACTS, SYSTEMS-LEVEL FEEDBACK, PROTEIN PHOSPHATASE 2A, M-PHASE CONTROL, EGG EXTRACTS, FISSION YEAST, GREATWALL KINASE, MOLECULAR-MODEL, DIVISION CYCLE