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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Chemotaxis, or directed cell motility, is a striking example of a complex and robust behavior exhibited with exquisite precision by single cells. Chemotaxis has long attracted the attention of mathematical and computational biologists. Recent advances in experimental techniques have led to an explosive growth in the accumulated data related to the biochemical nature of both prokaryotic and eukaryotic chemotaxis, which allowed investigators, for the first time, to glimpse the mechanism of the cell's guidance system. Several computational models of eukaryotic gradient sensing, a central part of chemotaxis, have appeared recently that suggest different underlying mechanisms. This review attempts to analyze the merits and deficiencies of each model in the context of the control of eukaryotic chemotactic behavior. The idea of modular organization of different control mechanisms underlying chemotaxis is also proposed.