Modeling the Cell's Guidance System

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Science's STKE  03 Sep 2002:
Vol. 2002, Issue 148, pp. re12
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2002.148.re12

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Cell locomotion can be directed by external gradients of diffusible substances leading to chemotaxis. Recently, the mechanisms of gradient sensing, the cell guidance system, came under scrutiny both in experimental analysis and computational modeling. Here, we review several recent computational models of gradient sensing in eukaryotic cells, demonstrating why some of them predict little sensitivity to changes in the gradient and response "locking," whereas others predict high gradient sensitivity at the expense of signal gain. We also propose a way to view chemotaxis regulation as a highly coupled combination of semi-independent control modules, leading to simplifying modeling of this complex cellular behavior.

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