Symmetry structures in dynamic models of biochemical systems
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2020

Understanding the complex interactions of biochemical processes underlying human disease represents the holy grail of systems biology. When processes are modelled in ordinary differential equation (ODE) fashion, the most common tool for their analysis is linear stability analysis where the long-term behaviour of the model is determined by linearizing the system around its steady states. However, this asymptotic behaviour is often insufficient for completely determining the structure of the underlying system. A complementary technique for analysing a system of ODEs is to consider the set of symmetries of its solutions. Symmetries provide a powerful concept for the development of mechanistic models by describing structures corresponding to the underlying dynamics of biological systems. To demonstrate their capability, we consider symmetries of the nonlinear Hill model describing enzymatic reaction kinetics and derive a class of symmetry transformations for each order of the model. We consider a minimal example consisting of the application of symmetry-based methods to a model selection problem, where we are able to demonstrate superior performance compared to ordinary residual-based model selection. Moreover, we demonstrate that symmetries reveal the intrinsic properties of a system of interest based on a single time series. Finally, we show and propose that symmetry-based methodology should be considered as the first step in a systematic model building and in the case when multiple time series are available it should complement the commonly used statistical methodologies.


ordinary differential equation

model structure

model selection


Fredrik Ohlsson

Chalmers, Matematiska vetenskaper, Tillämpad matematik och statistik

Johannes Borgqvist

Chalmers, Matematiska vetenskaper, Tillämpad matematik och statistik

Marija Cvijovic

Chalmers, Matematiska vetenskaper, Tillämpad matematik och statistik

Journal of the Royal Society Interface

1742-5689 (ISSN) 1742-5662 (eISSN)

Vol. 17 168 20200204




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