Journal Article

Executing multicellular differentiation: quantitative predictive modelling of <i>C.elegans</i> vulval development

Nicola Bonzanni, Elzbieta Krepska, K. Anton Feenstra, Wan Fokkink, Thilo Kielmann, Henri Bal and Jaap Heringa

in Bioinformatics

Volume 25, issue 16, pages 2049-2056
Published in print August 2009 | ISSN: 1367-4803
Published online June 2009 | e-ISSN: 1460-2059 | DOI:
Executing multicellular differentiation: quantitative predictive modelling of C.elegans vulval development

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Motivation: Understanding the processes involved in multi-cellular pattern formation is a central problem of developmental biology, hopefully leading to many new insights, e.g. in the treatment of various diseases. Defining suitable computational techniques for development modelling, able to perform in silico simulation experiments, is an open and challenging problem.

Results: Previously, we proposed a coarse-grained, quantitative approach based on the basic Petri net formalism, to mimic the behaviour of the biological processes during multicellular differentiation. Here, we apply our modelling approach to the well-studied process of Caenorhabditis elegans vulval development. We show that our model correctly reproduces a large set of in vivo experiments with statistical accuracy. It also generates gene expression time series in accordance with recent biological evidence. Finally, we modelled the role of microRNA mir-61 during vulval development and predict its contribution in stabilizing cell pattern formation.


Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

Journal Article.  6604 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

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