Study and simulation of reaction–diffusion systems affected by interacting signaling pathways

Acta Biotheoretica 56 (4) (2008)
Abstract
Possible effects of interaction (cross-talk) between signaling pathways is studied in a system of Reaction–Diffusion (RD) equations. Furthermore, the relevance of spontaneous neurite symmetry breaking and Turing instability has been examined through numerical simulations. The interaction between Retinoic Acid (RA) and Notch signaling pathways is considered as a perturbation to RD system of axon-forming potential for N2a neuroblastoma cells. The present work suggests that large increases to the level of RA–Notch interaction can possibly have substantial impacts on neurite outgrowth and on the process of axon formation. This can be observed by the numerical study of the homogeneous system showing that in the absence of RA–Notch interaction the unperturbed homogeneous system may exhibit different saddle-node bifurcations that are robust under small perturbations by low levels of RA–Notch interactions, while large increases in the level of RA–Notch interaction result in a number of transitions of saddle-node bifurcations into Hopf bifurcations. It is speculated that near a Hopf bifurcation, the regulations between the positive and negative feedbacks change in such a way that spontaneous symmetry breaking takes place only when transport of activated Notch protein takes place at a faster rate.
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