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Numerical simulation of piecewise-linear models of gene regulatory networks using complementarity systems

V. Acary, H. de Jong, B. Brogliato

Physica D : Nonlinear Phenomena, 269:103-119, 2014.


Gene regulatory networks control the response of living cells to changes in their environment. A class of piecewise-linear (PWL) models, which capture the switch-like interactions between genes by means of step functions, has been found useful for describing the dynamics of gene regulatory networks. The step functions lead to discontinuities in the right-hand side of the di-fferential equations. This has motivated extensions of the PWL models based on di-fferential inclusions and Filippov solutions, whose analysis requires sophisticated numerical tools. We present a method for the numerical analysis of one proposed extension, called Aizermann-Pyatnitskii (AP)-extension, by reformulating the PWL models as a mixed complementarity system (MCS). This allows the application of powerful methods developed for this class of nonsmooth dynamical systems, in particular those implemented in the Siconos platform. We also show that under a set of reasonable biological assumptions, putting constraints on the right-hand side of the PWL models, AP-extensions and classical Filippov (F)-extensions are equivalent. This means that the proposed numerical method is valid for a range of different solution concepts. We illustrate the practical interest of our approach through the numerical analysis of three well-known networks developed in the fi-eld of synthetic biology.

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