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Toward predictive models of mammalian cells.

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Department of Pharmacology and Biological Chemistry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.


Progress in experimental and theoretical biology is likely to provide us with the opportunity to assemble detailed predictive models of mammalian cells. Using a functional format to describe the organization of mammalian cells, we describe current approaches for developing qualitative and quantitative models using data from a variety of experimental sources. Recent developments and applications of graph theory to biological networks are reviewed. The use of these qualitative models to identify the topology of regulatory motifs and functional modules is discussed. Cellular homeostasis and plasticity are interpreted within the framework of balance between regulatory motifs and interactions between modules. From this analysis we identify the need for detailed quantitative models on the basis of the representation of the chemistry underlying the cellular process. The use of deterministic, stochastic, and hybrid models to represent cellular processes is reviewed, and an initial integrated approach for the development of large-scale predictive models of a mammalian cell is presented.

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