Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
XML PDF e-pub
PDF e-Pub

Section: New Results

Simulation and stability of piecewise linear gene networks

Participants : Vincent Acary, Arnaud Tonnelier, Bernard Brogliato.

This work has been done in collaboration with the IBIS project team, it is reported in [19] . Gene regulatory networks control the response of living cells to changes in their environment. A class of piecewise-linear (PWL) models, which capture the switch-like interactions between genes by means of step functions, has been found useful for describing the dynamics of gene regulatory networks. The step functions lead to discontinuities in the right-hand side of the differential equations. This has motivated extensions of the PWL models based on differential inclusions and Filippov solutions, whose analysis requires sophisticated numerical tools. We present a method for the numerical analysis of one proposed extension, called Aizerman-Pyatnitskii (AP)-extension, by reformulating the PWL models as a mixed complementarity system (MCS). This allows the application of powerful methods developed for this class of nonsmooth dynamical systems, in particular those implemented in the Siconos platform. We also show that under a set of reasonable biological assumptions, putting constraints on the right-hand side of the PWL models, AP-extensions and classical Filippov (F)-extensions are equivalent. This means that the proposed numerical method is valid for a range of different solution concepts. We illustrate the practical interest of our approach through the numerical analysis of three well-known networks developed in the field of synthetic biology.

In addition, we have investigated oscillatory regimes in repressilator-type models with piecewise linear dynamics [30] . We derived exact analytical conditions for oscillations and showed that the relative location between the dissociation constants of the Hill functions and the ratio of kinetic parameters determines the possibility of oscillatory activities. We also computed analytically the probability of oscillations. Results suggest that a switch-like coupling behaviour, a time-scale separation and a repressilator-type architecture with an even number of elements facilitate the emergence of sustained oscillations in biological systems.