Abstract

The molecular networks regulating basic physiological processes in a cell can be converted into mathematical equations (eg differential equations) and solved by a computer. The division cycle of eukaryotic cells is an important example of such a control system, and fission yeast is an excellent test organism for the computational modelling approach. The mathematical model is tested by simulating wild-type cells and many known cell cycle mutants. This paper describes an example where this approach is useful in understanding multiple rounds of DNA synthesis (endoreplication) in fission yeast cells that lack the main (B-type) mitotic cyclin, Cdc13. It is proposed that the key physiological variable driving progression through the cell cycle during balanced growth and division is the mass/DNA ratio, rather than the mass/nucleus ratio.