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Oct 29, 2008

Computational Biology Method to Identify Vulnerable Molecules in Complex Pathways Developed

  • A group of investigators report developing an algorithm capable of calculating the vulnerability levels of all molecules in a network. This biologically driven digital vulnerability assessment method was used to look at vulnerable molecules that are functionally related and known key regulators of well-characterized signaling networks.

    The team analyzed three recognized large cellular molecular signaling networks whose dysfunction contributed to the development of certain complex human disorders: a cellular network that regulates the activity of caspase3, a network that regulates the activity of p53, and a central nervous system network that regulates the activity of the transcription factor adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate response element–binding protein (CREB).

    The researchers found few molecules with the highest vulnerability level. They observed, however, that if each of these molecules failed to function, the entire molecular network would not work. Data verified the ability of digital vulnerability assessment to correctly forecast key regulators in the CREB network.

    Researchers from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, and Advanced Technologies for Novel Therapeutics collaborated on the study. Their work is described in the October 21 edition of Science Signaling.



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