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On the Mathematical Structure and Algorithmic Implementation of Biochemical Network Models

Authors: Paola Lecca


Modeling and simulation of biochemical reactions is of great interest in the context of system biology. The central dogma of this re-emerging area states that it is system dynamics and organizing principles of complex biological phenomena that give rise to functioning and function of cells. Cell functions, such as growth, division, differentiation and apoptosis are temporal processes, that can be understood if they are treated as dynamic systems. System biology focuses on an understanding of functional activity from a system-wide perspective and, consequently, it is defined by two hey questions: (i) how do the components within a cell interact, so as to bring about its structure and functioning? (ii) How do cells interact, so as to develop and maintain higher levels of organization and functions? In recent years, wet-lab biologists embraced mathematical modeling and simulation as two essential means toward answering the above questions. The credo of dynamics system theory is that the behavior of a biological system is given by the temporal evolution of its state. Our understanding of the time behavior of a biological system can be measured by the extent to which a simulation mimics the real behavior of that system. Deviations of a simulation indicate either limitations or errors in our knowledge. The aim of this paper is to summarize and review the main conceptual frameworks in which models of biochemical networks can be developed. In particular, we review the stochastic molecular modelling approaches, by reporting the principal conceptualizations suggested by A. A. Markov, P. Langevin, A. Fokker, M. Planck, D. T. Gillespie, N. G. van Kampfen, and recently by D. Wilkinson, O. Wolkenhauer, P. S. Jöberg and by the author.

Keywords: Mathematical structure, algorithmic implementation, biochemical network models

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