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In recent years, molecular biologists have uncovered a wealth of information about the proteins controlling cell growth and division in eukaryotes. The regulatory system is so complex that it defies understanding by verbal arguments alone. Quantitative tools are necessary to probe reliably into the details of cell cycle control. To this end, we convert hypothetical molecular mechanisms into sets of nonlinear ordinary differential equations and use standard analytical and numerical methods to study their solutions. First, we present a simple model of the antagonistic interactions between cyclin-dependent kinases and the anaphase promoting complex, which shows how progress through the cell cycle can be thought of as irreversible transitions (Start and Finish) between two stable states (G1 and S-G2-M) of the regulatory system. Then we add new pieces to the "puzzle" until we obtain reasonable models of the control systems in yeast cells, frog eggs, and cultured mammalian cells.


Journal article


J Theor Biol

Publication Date





249 - 263


Anaphase/physiology Animals Anura Biological Clocks/physiology Cell Cycle/genetics/physiology Cell Cycle Proteins/physiology Eukaryotic Cells/*cytology *Models, Biological Yeasts/cytology Zygote/cytology