Modeling the Cell's Guidance System

Sci. STKE, 3 September 2002
Vol. 2002, Issue 148, p. re12
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2002.148.re12

Modeling the Cell's Guidance System

  1. Pablo A. Iglesias1 and
  2. Andre Levchenko2,*
  1. 1Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 105 Barton Hall, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA.
  2. 2The Whitaker Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 208C Clark Hall, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA.
  1. *Corresponding author. E-mail: alev{at}


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.


P. A. Iglesias and A. Levchenko, Modeling the Cell's Guidance System. Sci. STKE 2002, re12 (2002).

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