Jaap Kaandorp
(Section Computational Science, University of Amsterdam)
Modelling Gene Regulation of Morphogenesis

In this presentation we would like to give an example of coupling a model of a gene regulatory network and a biomechanical representation of morphogenesis. We use the embryogenesis of the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis as a case study. In this example we couple the model of gene regulation to a cell-based model of embryogenesis. In this case study we are collecting recently published spatio-temporal and quantitative gene expression patterns from various developmental stages in Nematostella in a spatial data base ("the virtual embryo"). We use this three-dimensional data for constructing a mathematical model of the regulatory network and for inferring regulatory network parameters. The regulatory network is modelled using a set of coupled reaction-diffusion equations, while the model parameters are inferred from the data base using optimization techniques. Finally the aim is to couple the regulatory network model to a biomechanical model of cell movement and cell division.