Toward Systems Biology

May 30 - 31, June 1, 2011


Home         Confirmed speakers         Program         Registration         Venue         Accommodation

Membrane Organization and the Quantitative Understanding of Cell Signaling

Systems biology modeling of signal transduction pathways traditionally employs ordinary differential equations, deterministic models based on the assumptions of spatial homogeneity. However, this approximation may not be valid for many signaling networks, especially in initial steps on the cell membrane. This is because the cell membrane exhibits significant spatial organization, with diffusion rates approximately two orders of magnitude slower than those in the cytosol. Thus, to unravel the complexities of signaling pathways, quantitative models must consider spatial organization as an important feature of cell signaling. Furthermore, spatial separation limits the number of molecules that can physically interact, requiring stochastic simulation methods that account for individual molecules. In this talk I discuss the need for mathematical models and experiments that appreciate the importance of spatial organization in the membrane.

Jeremy S. Edwards, University of New Mexico