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Emergent properties of networks of biological signaling pathways.

Many distinct signaling pathways allow the cell to receive, process, and respond to information. Often, components of different pathways interact, resulting in signaling networks. Biochemical signaling networks were constructed with experimentally obtained constants and analyzed by computational methods to understand their role in complex biological processes. These networks exhibit emergent properties such as integration of signals across multiple time scales, generation of distinct outputs depending on input strength and duration, and self-sustaining feedback loops. Feedback can result in bistable behavior with discrete steady-state activities, well-defined input thresholds for transition between states and prolonged signal output, and signal modulation in response to transient stimuli. These properties of signaling networks raise the possibility that information for "learned behavior" of biological systems may be stored within intracellular biochemical reactions that comprise signaling pathways.

Pubmed ID: 9888852


  • Bhalla US
  • Iyengar R


Science (New York, N.Y.)

Publication Data

January 15, 1999

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NIGMS NIH HHS, Id: GM-54508

Mesh Terms

  • Animals
  • Calcineurin
  • Calcium
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase Type 2
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Computer Simulation
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Dual Specificity Phosphatase 1
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • Feedback
  • Immediate-Early Proteins
  • Isoenzymes
  • Kinetics
  • Long-Term Potentiation
  • Memory
  • Models, Biological
  • Neurons
  • Phospholipase C gamma
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Kinase C
  • Protein Phosphatase 1
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases
  • Receptor, Epidermal Growth Factor
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Second Messenger Systems
  • Signal Transduction
  • Synapses
  • Type C Phospholipases