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New models question old assumptions about how many molecules it takes to control cell division
Date:2/24/2009

of control, the Virginia Tech researchers conclude, in their PNAS paper, that 1) the average number of specific mRNA molecules must be 5 to 10 times larger than the generally accepted value, or 2) the half-life of mRNA molecules must be 10 to 20 times shorter than the reported value, or 3) the cell must have specific mechanisms for noise reduction in its mRNA populations. Or some combination of these strategies.

"At least we have an accurate model that tells where the questions are," Tyson said. "Computational cell biologists address puzzles like this one by building reliable mathematical models, based on basic principles of physics and chemistry, that address the roles of noise and noise reduction mechanisms in living cells."

Tyson, Baumann, and Paul are lead investigators on an NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences funded research project that also includes Yang Cao, assistant professor; Cliff Shaffer, professor; Layne Watson, professor; and Adrian Sandu, associate professor, all of Virginia Tech's computer science department in the College of Engineering.

The group is continuing to build more elaborate and accurate models of molecular noise in the cell cycle control system of yeast cells and to compare these models to the latest experimental measurements of molecular fluctuations in single cells.


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Contact: Susan Trulove
STrulove@vt.edu
540-231-5646
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert

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