Computer Models of Bacterial Cells To Integrate Genomic Detail with Cell Physiology

  • Shuler, Michael L. (Department of Biomedical Engineering and School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Cornell University)
  • Published : 2005.06.30


While genomics (the set of experimental and computational tools that allows the blueprints of life to be read) opens the doors to a more rational approach to the design and use of living cells to bring about desirable chemical transformations, genomics is, by itself, insufficient. We need tools that allow us to relate genomic and molecular information to cellular physiology and then to the response of a population of cells. We propose the development of hybrid computer cellular models. In such models genomics and chemical detail for a cellular subsystem (e.g. pathogenesis) is embedded in a coarse-grain cell model. Such a construct allows the quantitative and explicit linkage of genomic detail to cell physiology to the extracellular environment. To illustrate the principles involved we are constructing a model for a minimal cell. A minimal cell is a bacterial cell with the fewest number of genes necessary to sustain life as a free living microbe.