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The Ribosome Flow Model: Theory and Applications

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Tim Hughes.

The Ribosome Flow Model (RFM) is a set of ordinary differential equations modeling the movement of interacting particles along a chain of sites. The movement is unidirectional and satisfies a simple exclusion principle, that is, the particles are assumed to have volume and can block each other, leading to “traffic jams.”

Reuveni et al. (2011) used the RFM as a model for translation-elongation. This is a crucial biological process in which ribosomes move along the mRNA chain and decode it to produce the corresponding proteins. However, the RFM can also be used to model and study numerous other natural and artificial processes, including vehicles moving along a highway and data packets sent along a serial chain of buffers.

In this talk, we describe the analysis of the RFM using tools from systems and control theory. We prove that the dynamics converges to a unique steady-state; entrains to periodic transition rates; and that the steady-state output (or protein production) rate is a concave function of the model parameters.

We present several biological implications of the analysis and compare them to known experimental results.

Joint work with Tamir Tuller (Tel Aviv University) and Eduardo D. Sontag (Rutgers University)

This talk is part of the CUED Control Group Seminars series.

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