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Biol Cell. 2004 Jun;96(5):355-62.

Modeling cell signaling networks.

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


Cell signaling pathways interact with one another to form networks in mammalian systems. Such networks are complex in their organization and exhibit emergent properties such as bistability and ultrasensitivity. Analysis of signaling networks requires a combination of experimental and theoretical approaches including the development and analysis of models. This review focuses on theoretical approaches to understanding cell signaling networks. Using heterotrimeric G protein pathways an example, we demonstrate how interactions between two pathways can result in a network that contains a positive feedback loop and function as a switch. Different mathematical approaches that are currently used to model signaling networks are described, and future challenges including the need for databases as well as enhanced computing environments are discussed.

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