Using mathematical modeling to elucidate symmetry breaking mechanisms in yeast budding

Lani Wu
Bauer Center for Genomics Research
Harvard University


In the yeast budding pathway, the asymmetric accumulation of Cdc42 on the plasma membrane is a precursor of bud-site selection. Cdc42 cap establishment requires either (1) actin cytoskeleton-dependent feedback or (2) Bem1 scaffolding-dependent feedback. Our goal is to understand how these two feedback mechanisms, individually and in combination, establish and maintain the Cdc42 caps.

We will discuss how we choose and apply different mathematical modeling approaches at different stages of the project and how we apply mathematical theorems to rule out a whole class of mathematical modeling approaches and possible biological mechanisms.


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R Wedlich-Soldner, S Altschuler, L Wu, L and R Li, "Spontaneous cell polarization through actomyosin-based delivery of the Cdc42 GTPase", Science 299:1231-1235, 2003. PubMed