Lab of Control and Systems Biology, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, 300, Taiwan.
Robustness is defined as the ability to uphold performance in face of perturbations and uncertainties, and sensitivity is a measure of the system deviations generated by perturbations to the system. While cancer appears as a robust but fragile system, few computational and quantitative evidences demonstrate robustness tradeoffs in cancer. Microarrays have been widely applied to decipher gene expression signatures in human cancer research, and quantification of global gene expression profiles facilitates precise prediction and modeling of cancer in systems biology. We provide several efficient computational methods based on system and control theory to compare robustness and sensitivity between cancer and normal cells by microarray data. Measurement of robustness and sensitivity by linear stochastic model is introduced in this study, which shows oscillations in feedback loops of p53 and demonstrates robustness tradeoffs that cancer is a robust system with some extreme fragilities. In addition, we measure sensitivity of gene expression to perturbations in other gene expression and kinetic parameters, discuss nonlinear effects in feedback loops of p53 and extend our method to robustness-based cancer drug design.
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