Volume 7 Issue 3, March 2006

From The Editors

Research Highlights

Foreword

  • Foreword |

    Computational models that reproduce and predict the detailed behaviours of cellular systems form the Holy Grail of systems biology. They require decades of work to integrate mathematical-modelling efforts, data on molecular-interaction networks and information on the physics of cellular structures. The challenges are formidable, but recent advances indicate that this endeavour looks increasingly feasible.

    • Hiroaki Kitano

Reviews

  • Review Article |

    Spatial and temporal dynamics of signalling networks control the specificity of cellular responses to receptor stimulation. Computational models now provide insights into the mechanisms that are responsible for signal amplification, as well as the timing, amplitude, duration and spatial distribution of signalling responses.

    • Boris N. Kholodenko
  • Review Article |

    Recent advances in RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated gene-knockdown technologies have opened up the possibility of large-scale functional discovery in mammalian systems. RNAi screening could help us to delineate the architecture of signalling pathways much faster than by using traditional approaches.

    • Jason Moffat
    •  & David M. Sabatini
  • Review Article |

    The difficulties that are associated with the experimental determination of atomic structures for interacting proteins mean that predictive methods are needed for progress. Such structural details can be used to turn abstract system representations into models that more accurately reflect biological reality.

    • Patrick Aloy
    •  & Robert B. Russell
  • Review Article |

    Many genome-scale, or 'omics', data sets are becoming available for various model organisms. Although each of these data types is valuable on its own, further insights into whole systems can be gained through the integration of omics data sets.

    • Andrew R. Joyce
    •  & Bernhard Ø. Palsson
  • Review Article |

    Tissue engineering has opened up the possibility of studying physiological and pathophysiological processes in vitro. The foundation of this technology is a set of design principles for building three-dimensional tissues that are based on the quantitative analyses of cell and tissue behaviour.

    • Linda G. Griffith
    •  & Melody A. Swartz

Perspectives

    Innovation

  • Innovation |

    Cryo-electron tomography is an emerging imaging technique that will allow us to map molecular landscapes inside cells. This 'visual proteomics' will complement and extend mass-spectrometry-based inventories, and will provide a quantitative description of the macromolecular interactions that underlie cellular functions.

    • Stephan Nickell
    • , Christine Kofler
    • , Andrew P. Leis
    •  & Wolfgang Baumeister
  • Essay

  • Essay |

    What are the main characteristics of scientific conferences and what distinguishes the successful meetings from the less successful? When comparing, for example, big versus little conferences, long versus short meetings and specialized versus more general conferences, which features 'win'?

    • Gregory A. Petsko