Publications - Published papers

Please find below publications of our group. Currently, we list 500 papers. Some of the publications are in collaboration with the group of Sonja Prohaska and are also listed in the publication list for her individual group. Access to published papers (access) is restricted to our local network and chosen collaborators. If you have problems accessing electronic information, please let us know:

©NOTICE: All papers are copyrighted by the authors; If you would like to use all or a portion of any paper, please contact the author.

Emergence of regulatory networks in simulated evolutionary processes

Dirk Drasdo, Matthias Kruspe


PREPRINT 05-014: [ PDF ]


Adv. Complex Syst., 2 & 3, 285-318 (2005).


Despite the spectacular progress in biophysics, molecular biology and biochemistry our ability to predict the dynamic behavior of multicellular systems under different conditions is very limited. An important reason for this is that still not enough is known about how cells change their physical and biological properties by genetic or metabolic regulation, and which of these changes affect the cell behavior. For this reason it is difficult to predict the system behavior of multicellular systems in case the cell behavior changes for example as a consequence of regulation or differentiation. The rules that underly the regulation processes have been determined on the time scale of evolution, by selection on the phenotypic level of cells or cell populations. We illustrate by detailed computer simulations in a multi-scale approach how cell behavior controlled by regulatory networks may emerge as a consequence of an evolutionary process, if either the cells, or populations of cells are subject to selection on particular features. We consider two examples, migration strategies of single cells searching a signal source, or aggregation of two or more cells. Both can for example be found in the life cycle of Dictyostelium discoideum. However, phenotypic changes that can lead to completely different modes of migration have also been observed in cells of multi-cellular organisms for example as a consequence of a specialization in stem cells or the de-differentiation in tumor cells. The regulatory networks are represented by Boolean networks and encoded by binary strings. The latter may be considered as encoding the genetic information (the genotype) and are subject to mutations and crossovers. The cell behavior reflects the phenotype. We find that cells adopt naturally observed migration strategies, controlled by networks that show neutrality, robustness, and redundancy. We carefully analyse the regulatory networks and the resulting phenotypes by different measures and by knockouts of regulatory elements. We illustrate that in order to maintain a cells' phenotype in case of a knockout, the cell may have to be able to deal with contradictory information. In summary both, the cell phenotype as well as the regulatory network emerged behave as their biological counterparts observed in nature.