Kinetic models of gene expression including non-coding RNAs
Journal article, 2011
In cells, genes are transcribed into mRNAs, and the latter are translated into proteins. Due to the feedbacks between these processes, the kinetics of gene expression may be complex even in the simplest genetic networks. The corresponding models have already been reviewed in the literature. A new avenue in this field is related to the recognition that the conventional scenario of gene expression is fully applicable only to prokaryotes whose genomes consist of tightly packed protein-coding sequences. In eukaryotic cells, in contrast, such sequences are relatively rare, and the rest of the genome includes numerous transcript units representing non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). During the past decade, it has become clear that such RNAs play a crucial role in gene expression and accordingly influence a multitude of cellular processes both in the normal state and during diseases. The numerous biological functions of ncRNAs are based primarily on their abilities to silence genes via pairing with a target mRNA and subsequently preventing its translation or facilitating degradation of the mRNA-ncRNA complex. Many other abilities of ncRNAs have been discovered as well. Our review is focused on the available kinetic models describing the mRNA, ncRNA and protein interplay. In particular, we systematically present the simplest models without kinetic feedbacks, models containing feedbacks and predicting bistability and oscillations in simple genetic networks, and models describing the effect of ncRNAs on complex genetic networks. Mathematically, the presentation is based primarily on temporal mean-field kinetic equations. The stochastic and spatio-temporal effects are also briefly discussed. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
transcriptional regulatory network
stochastic bistable kinetics