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Validation of Biological Pathways Using Petri Nets - Demonstrated for Apoptosis.

Heiner, M.; Koch, I.; Will, J.

In: 1-3: J. BioSystems, Vol. 75, pages 15-28. 2004.

Abstract: This paper demonstrates the first steps of a new integrating methodology to develop and analyse models of biological pathways in a systematic manner using well established Petri net technologies. The whole approach comprises stepwise modelling, animation, model validation as well as qualitative and quantitative analysis for behaviour prediction. In this paper, the first phase is addressed - how to develop and validate a qualitative model, which might be extended afterwards to a quantitative model. The example used in this paper is devoted to apoptosis, the genetically programmed cell death. Apoptosis is an essential part of normal physiology for most metazoan species. Disturbances in the apoptotic process could lead to several diseases. The signal transduction pathway of apoptosis includes highly complex mechanisms to control and execute programmed cell death. This paper explains how to model and validate this pathway using qualitative Petri nets. The results provide a mathematically unique and valid model enabling the confirmation of known properties as well as new insights in this pathway.

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