Regulation of Apoptosis via the NFκB Pathway: Modeling and Analysis
Programmed cell death (or apoptosis) has an essential biological function, enabling successful embryonic development, as well as maintenance of a healthy living organism . Apoptosis is a physiological process which enables an organism to remove unwanted or damaged cells. Malfunctioning apoptotic pathways can lead to many diseases, including cancer and inflammatory or immune system related problems. A family of proteins called caspases are primarily responsible for execution of the apoptotic process: basically, in response to appropriate stimuli, initiator caspases (for instance, caspases 8, 9) activate effector caspases (for instance, caspases 3, 7), which will then cleave various cellular substrates to accomplish the cell death process .
Nuclear factor κB (NFκB) is a transcription factor for a large group of genes which are involved in several different pathways. For instance, NFκB activates its own inhibitor (IκB)  as well as groups of pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic genes . Among the latter, NFκB activates transcription of a gene encoding for inhibitor of apoptosis protein (IAP). This protein in turn contributes to downregulate the activity of the caspase cascade which forms the core of the apoptotic pathway [6, 8].
KeywordsApoptotic Pathway Caspase Cascade Logical Rule Boolean Model Piecewise Linear System
The authors thank Peter Scheurich and Monica Schliemann for their many interesting and fruitful discussions.
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