Volume 14 (2017) Pages 29-40
The functions of intracellular signal transduction systems are determined by the temporal behavior of intracellular molecules and their interactions. Of the many dynamical properties of the system, the relationship between the dynamics of upstream molecules and downstream molecules is particularly important. A useful tool in understanding this relationship is a methodology to control the dynamics of intracellular molecules with an extracellular stimulus. However, this is a difficult task because the relationship between the levels of upstream molecules and those of downstream molecules is often not only stochastic, but also time-inhomogeneous, nonlinear, and not one-to-one. In this paper, we present an easy-to-implement model-based control method that makes the target downstream molecule to trace a desired time course by changing the concentration of a controllable upstream molecule. Our method uses predictions from Monte Carlo simulations of the model to decide the strength of the stimulus, while using a particle-based approach to make inferences regarding unobservable states. We applied our method to in silico control problems of insulin-dependent AKT pathway model and EGF-dependent Akt pathway model with system noise. We show that our method can robustly control the dynamics of the intracellular molecules against unknown system noise of various strengths, even in the absence of complete knowledge of the true model of the target system.