The study's lead authors are New York University Assistant Biology Professor Richard Bonneau, who holds appointments at NYU's Center for Genomics & Systems Biology and the university's Courant Institute for Mathematical Sciences, and Nitin Baliga of the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, WA.
"This organism is amazingly versatile and tolerates lots of different extreme environmental stresses," said Bonneau
"It does this by making decisions and dynamically changing the levels of genes and proteins; if it makes incorrect decisions it dies.
Our model shows how these decisions get made, how the bug responds."
"This is also a good model to explain how, in general, cells make stable decisions as they move through time scales," added Bonneau
, who is part of an NYU
research group that handled the analysis of this genome.
"If you want to understand how cells respond to their environments, the model offers a clearer window than previously existed for this domain of life."
The collaboration between Baliga's and Bonneau's
research groups represents a type of partnership becoming more essential to biological and biomedical research: biologists and computer scientists teaming up to design experiments and analysis that synergize to decipher living systems, resulting in ever more complex and accurate models of the cell.
The result is more comprehensive, reaching genome-scale levels, more accurate, and more relevant to biologists and biomedical researchers hoping to understand the whole system.
added that by understanding how biological systems function, researchers can then turn their attention to engineering the biosynthesis of biofuels and pharmaceuticals.
"We are now gearing up to try this sort of analysis on several other organisms," he