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Math Biosci. 2007 May;207(1):40-57. Epub 2006 Aug 24.

Approximations and their consequences for dynamic modelling of signal transduction pathways.

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  • 1University of Rostock, 18051 Rostock, Germany.


Signal transduction is the process by which the cell converts one kind of signal or stimulus into another. This involves a sequence of biochemical reactions, carried out by proteins. The dynamic response of complex cell signalling networks can be modelled and simulated in the framework of chemical kinetics. The mathematical formulation of chemical kinetics results in a system of coupled differential equations. Simplifications can arise through assumptions and approximations. The paper provides a critical discussion of frequently employed approximations in dynamic modelling of signal transduction pathways. We discuss the requirements for conservation laws, steady state approximations, and the neglect of components. We show how these approximations simplify the mathematical treatment of biochemical networks but we also demonstrate differences between the complete system and its approximations with respect to the transient and steady state behavior.

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