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The adaptive responses of a living cell to internal and external signals are controlled by networks of proteins whose interactions are so complex that the functional integration of the network cannot be comprehended by intuitive reasoning alone. Mathematical modeling, based on biochemical rate equations, provides a rigorous and reliable tool for unraveling the complexities of molecular regulatory networks. The budding yeast cell cycle is a challenging test case for this approach, because the control system is known in exquisite detail and its function is constrained by the phenotypic properties of >100 genetically engineered strains. We show that a mathematical model built on a consensus picture of this control system is largely successful in explaining the phenotypes of mutants described so far. A few inconsistencies between the model and experiments indicate aspects of the mechanism that require revision. In addition, the model allows one to frame and critique hypotheses about how the division cycle is regulated in wild-type and mutant cells, to predict the phenotypes of new mutant combinations, and to estimate the effective values of biochemical rate constants that are difficult to measure directly in vivo.


Journal article


Mol Biol Cell

Publication Date





3841 - 3862


Cell Cycle/*physiology Cell Cycle Proteins/genetics/metabolism Computer Simulation *Models, Theoretical Saccharomycetales/genetics/*physiology