Systems Biology
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Metabolic networks: biology meets engineering sciences

Publication Date Jan 1, 2005

Abstract

A hallmark of systems biology is the interdisciplinary approach to the complexity of biological systems, in which mathematical modeling constitutes an important part. Here, we use the example of sugar metabolism in the simple bacterium Escherichia coli and its associated control to illustrate the process of model development. Even for this well-characterized biological system, a close interaction between experimentation and theoretical analysis revealed novel, unexpected features. Additionally, the example shows how concepts from engineering sciences can facilitate the formal investigation of biological networks. More generally, we argue that analogies between complex biological and technical systems such as modular structures and common design principles provide crystallization points for fruitful research in both domains. 1 Systems biology: an interdisciplinary approach For the past 30 years, it has been characteristic for biology to be qualitative and descriptive, directed towards the understanding of the molecular detail. However, for the understanding of complex system properties like optimal control, adaptation and memory, both the systems’ components and their interactions have to be considered. Primarily the new ’omic technologies now make the complete determination of biological systems a realistic goal (Selinger et al. 2003). As a result, biology moves from the focus on few components to the study of networks of molecular interactions that give rise to complex physiological functions (Alm and Arkin 2003). Systems b...

Concepts
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Biological Systems
Complex Biological Systems
Systems Biology
Analysis Of Bacterial Chemotaxis
Omic Technologies
Mathematical Modeling
Mathematical Representations
Process Of Model Development
Bistable Trigger
Treatment Of Human Diseases

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