Small biomolecular systems are inherently stochastic. Indeed, fluctuations of molecular species are substantial in living organisms and may result in significant variation in cellular phenotypes. The chemical master equation (CME) is the most detailed mathematical model that can describe stochastic behaviors. However, because of its complexity the CME has been solved for only few, very small reaction networks. As a result, the contribution of CMEbased approaches to biology has been very limited. In this review we discuss the approach of solving CME by a set of differential equations of probability moments, called moment equations. We present different approaches to produce and to solve these equations, emphasizing the use of factorial moments and the zero information entropy closure scheme. We also provide information on the stability analysis of stochastic systems. Finally, we speculate on the utility of CMEbased modeling formalisms, especially in the context of synthetic biology efforts.
Many chemical reaction networks in biological systems present complex oscillatory dynamics. In systems such as regulatory gene networks, cell cycle, and enzymatic processes, the number of molecules involved is often far from the thermodynamic limit. Although stochastic models based on the probabilistic approach of the Chemical Master Equation (CME) have been proposed, studies in the literature have been limited by the challenges of solving the CME and the lack of computational power to perform large-scale stochastic simulations.
In this paper, we show that the infinite set of stationary moment equations describing the stochastic Brusselator and Schnakenberg oscillatory reactions networks can be truncated and solved using maximization of the entropy of the distributions. The results from our numerical experiments compare with the distributions obtained from well-established kinetic Monte Carlo methods and suggest that the accuracy of the prediction increases exponentially with the closure order chosen for the system.
We conclude that maximum entropy models can be used as an efficient closure scheme alternative for moment equations to predict the non-equilibrium stationary distributions of stochastic chemical reactions with oscillatory dynamics. This prediction is accomplished without any prior knowledge of the system dynamics and without imposing any biased assumptions on the mathematical relations among species involved.
Ease of control of complex networks has been assessed extensively in terms of structural controllability and observability, and minimum control energy criteria. Here we adopt a sparsity-promoting feedback control framework for undirected networks with Laplacian dynamics and distinct topological features. The control objective considered is to minimize the effect of disturbance signals, magnitude of control signals and cost of feedback channels. We show that depending on the cost of feedback channels, different complex network structures become the least expensive option to control. Specifically, increased cost of feedback channels favors organized topological complexity such as modularity and centralization. Thus, although sparse and heterogeneous undirected networks may require larger numbers of actuators and sensors for structural controllability, networks with Laplacian dynamics are shown to be easier to control when accounting for the cost of feedback channels.
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