The growth of microorganisms is regulated by signal transduction pathways, gene regulatory networks, and metabolic networks. Transcription factors are activated via signal transduction pathways and they in turn regulate genes that interact with other genes via gene regulatory networks. This results in the activation of metabolic enzymes that catalyze metabolic reactions, which convert nutrients into energy and biomass for the growth of microorganisms.
Why Systems-Biology Matters
Biological reaction networks consist of hundreds of highly-interacted components. It is the interactions between these components that determine the function and behavior of a biological system. Systems Biology is a research field that takes a systems-level approach to characterize the interactions between molecules involved in a biological system and thus investigate strategies for manipulating the behavior of that system. It lies at the intersection of Chemical Engineering, Computer Science, Biomedical Engineering, Physics, and Biology, and has recently generated significant interest. Specifically, mathematical models are developed and thus validated by experimental data, which can then be used as an in-silico platform for predicting the behavior of the system. Based on the developed models, systems analysis techniques are used to investigate interactions of components in the system and determine the components/reactions that play an important role in determining the response of the biological system to specific stimuli. This information can be used for drug development, for experiment design, and for control strategy development.