On the phase space structure of IP(3) induced Ca(2+) signalling and concepts for predictive modeling


  • M. Falcke
  • M. Moein
  • A. Tilūnaitė
  • R. Thul
  • A. Skupin


  • Chaos


  • Chaos 28 (4): 045115


  • The correspondence between mathematical structures and experimental systems is the basis of the generalizability of results found with specific systems and is the basis of the predictive power of theoretical physics. While physicists have confidence in this correspondence, it is less recognized in cellular biophysics. On the one hand, the complex organization of cellular dynamics involving a plethora of interacting molecules and the basic observation of cell variability seem to question its possibility. The practical difficulties of deriving the equations describing cellular behaviour from first principles support these doubts. On the other hand, ignoring such a correspondence would severely limit the possibility of predictive quantitative theory in biophysics. Additionally, the existence of functional modules (like pathways) across cell types suggests also the existence of mathematical structures with comparable universality. Only a few cellular systems have been sufficiently investigated in a variety of cell types to follow up these basic questions. IP(3) induced Ca(2+) signalling is one of them, and the mathematical structure corresponding to it is subject of ongoing discussion. We review the system's general properties observed in a variety of cell types. They are captured by a reaction diffusion system. We discuss the phase space structure of its local dynamics. The spiking regime corresponds to noisy excitability. Models focussing on different aspects can be derived starting from this phase space structure. We discuss how the initial assumptions on the set of stochastic variables and phase space structure shape the predictions of parameter dependencies of the mathematical models resulting from the derivation.