Molecular Systems Biology | The Seven Stones

q-bio 2010 Conference on Cellular Information Processing

This last August 11-14, systems biologists convened in beautiful Santa

Fe, New Mexico, for the Fourth

Annual q-bio Conference on Cellular Information Processing. The conference brought together a potent mix of theoretical and quantitative experimental biology across a wide range of topics. The full program and abstracts for each talk can be browsed on the conference’s Wiki


St. John’s College, the q-bio venue

Highlighting the value of systems-level analysis, many of the talks revealed the functional importance of features of biological systems that may often be tempting to disregard:

    • Thierry Emonet showed that noisein the chemotactic signaling pathways actually acts to help coordinatethe bacteria’s multiple flagella.  (In fact, chemotaxis andbacterial swarming were popular topics. See also the talks by Jan

      Liphardt, Ned Wingreen, Victor Sourjik, Bonnie Bassler, Christopher

      Rao, and Yi Jiang).


    • Talks by Anat Burger and Narendra Maheshri explored the ways thatnon-functional transcriptionfactor binding sites(sites that do not directly affect generegulation) can nonetheless have dramatic effects on the dynamics of

      gene regulatory circuits.


  • Debora Marks discussed her work showing that style=”font-weight: bold;”>saturation and competitionplay apotentially important role in determining the efficiency of siRNA and microRNA targetgene repression. (See also her recent work instyle=”font-style: italic;”>Molecular Systems Biology



    et al. 2010


The conference also hosted several excellent talks on cell

cycle regulation — a classical model in systems biology research — including a closing lecture by James Ferrell and a talk by John Tyson

describing his detailed stochastic model of the eukaryotic cell cycle

(recently published in Molecular

Systems Biology,Barik et al. 2010). See also talks by Jan Skotheim, Silvia Santos, and Xiaojing Yang. Galit Lahav also provided some exciting insights into another extremely well-studied system — p53 signaling (see Loewer et al. 2010).

In addition, two researchers studying HIV1 provided some of the most thought-provoking presentations:

    • Leor Weinberger proposed a way to treat HIV1 with a transmissibletherapeutic agent, and described both cell culture experimentsdemonstrating the ability of their agent to slow HIV1 propagation, andcomputational modeling showing how this agent could spread through the

      human population.


  • Alex Sigal used a combination of modeling and cell cultureexperiments to make a compelling case that direct cell-to-celltransmission of HIV1 may help maintain a low-level “smolderinginfection” during anti-retroviral drug treatment.

Naturally, these are just a few highlights from the conference, which hosted

many other excellent talks. Once again, we encourage you to browse the full program and abstracts on the conference’s



Barik D, Baumann WT, Paul MR, Novak B, Tyson JJ (2010) A model of yeast cell-cycle regulation based on multisite phosphorylation. Mol Syst Biol 6:405


Arvey A, Larsson E, Sander C, Leslie CS, Marks DS (2010) Target mRNA abundance dilutes microRNA and siRNA activity. Mol Syst Biol 6:363


Loewer A, Batchelor E, Gaglia G, Lahav G (2010) Basal Dynamics of p53 Reveal Transcriptionally Attenuated Pulses in Cycling Cells. Cell 142:89-100


There are currently no comments.