Methods for Optimal Intervention in Gene Regulatory Networks

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Methods for Optimal Intervention in Gene Regulatory Networks

The cell maintains its function via an elaborate network of interconnecting positive and negative feedback loops of genes and proteins that send different signals to a large number of pathways and molecules. These structures are referred to as gene regulatory networks.

Current research in cancer biology indicates that global, systemic molecular interactions are pivotal in understanding cellular dynamics and designing intervention strategies to combat genetic disease. In particular, most genetic diseases, such as cancer, are not caused by a single gene but rather by the interaction of multiple genes. Holistic approaches to the study of biological systems reveal the dynamic nature of cellular networks, which provide an important framework for drug discovery and design.

One of the main aims of modern biological research is focused on intervening in biological cell dynamics to alter the gene regulatory network and avoid undesirable cellular states. The readers who are interested in gene regulatory network modeling can find rich information in the column article in the January issue of IEEE Signal Processing Magazine. This article reviews recent results in gene regulatory network modeling and discusses various control mechanisms used to modify their cellular dynamics. It also describes a new intervention strategy based on optimal perturbations.

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