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Cell Death Dis. 2014 May 29;5:e1259. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2014.160.

Systems biology of death receptor networks: live and let die.

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1] Department of Translational Inflammation Research, Institute of Experimental Internal Medicine, Otto von Guericke University, Magdeburg, Germany [2] Faculty of Fundamental Medicine, MV Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia.


The extrinsic apoptotic pathway is initiated by death receptor activation. Death receptor activation leads to the formation of death receptor signaling platforms, resulting in the demolition of the cell. Despite the fact that death receptor-mediated apoptosis has been studied to a high level of detail, its quantitative regulation until recently has been poorly understood. This situation has dramatically changed in the last years. Creation of mathematical models of death receptor signaling led to an enormous progress in the quantitative understanding of the network regulation and provided fascinating insights into the mechanisms of apoptosis control. In the following sections, the models of the death receptor signaling and their biological implications will be addressed. Central attention will be given to the models of CD95/Fas/APO-1, an exemplified member of the death receptor signaling pathways. The CD95 death-inducing signaling complex (DISC) and regulation of CD95 DISC activity by its key inhibitor c-FLIP, have been vigorously investigated by modeling approaches, and therefore will be the major topic here. Furthermore, the non-linear dynamics of the DISC, positive feedback loops and bistability as well as stoichiometric switches in extrinsic apoptosis will be discussed. Collectively, this review gives a comprehensive view how the mathematical modeling supported by quantitative experimental approaches has provided a new understanding of the death receptor signaling network.

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