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PLoS Comput Biol. 2006 Aug 11;2(8):e101.

Matrix formalism to describe functional states of transcriptional regulatory systems.

Author information

1
Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.

Abstract

Complex regulatory networks control the transcription state of a genome. These transcriptional regulatory networks (TRNs) have been mathematically described using a Boolean formalism, in which the state of a gene is represented as either transcribed or not transcribed in response to regulatory signals. The Boolean formalism results in a series of regulatory rules for the individual genes of a TRN that in turn can be used to link environmental cues to the transcription state of a genome, thereby forming a complete transcriptional regulatory system (TRS). Herein, we develop a formalism that represents such a set of regulatory rules in a matrix form. Matrix formalism allows for the systemic characterization of the properties of a TRS and facilitates the computation of the transcriptional state of the genome under any given set of environmental conditions. Additionally, it provides a means to incorporate mechanistic detail of a TRS as it becomes available. In this study, the regulatory network matrix, R, for a prototypic TRS is characterized and the fundamental subspaces of this matrix are described. We illustrate how the matrix representation of a TRS coupled with its environment (R*) allows for a sampling of all possible expression states of a given network, and furthermore, how the fundamental subspaces of the matrix provide a way to study key TRS features and may assist in experimental design.

PMID:
16895435
PMCID:
PMC1534074
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pcbi.0020101
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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