Theoretical Investigation of Biological Networks Coupled via Bottlenecks in Enzymatic Processing


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Virginia Tech


Cell biology is a branch of science with a seemingly infinite abundance of interesting phenomena which are essential to our understanding of life and which may potentially drive the development of technology that improves our lives. Among the open ended questions within the field, an understanding of how gene networks are affected by limited cellular components is both broad and rich with interest. Common to all cellular systems are enzymes which perform many tasks within cells without which organisms could not remain healthy. Here are presented several explorations of enzymatic processing as well as a tool constructed for this purpose. More specifically, these works consider the effect of coupling of gene networks via competition for enzymes found within the cell. It is shown that a limitation on the number of available enzymes permits the formation of bottlenecks which drastically affect molecular dynamics within cells. These effects potentially afford cell behaviors that in part explain the impressive robustness of life to constantly fluctuating environments.



Post-translational Coupling, Toxin-antitoxin Modules, Enzymatic Degradation, Queueing Theory