DEPARTMENT OF MATHEMATICAL AND STATISTICAL SCIENCES

UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA

MATHEMATICAL BIOLOGY SEMINAR

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2004

3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

CAB 657

Modelling the compartmentalization of splicing factors

Gustavo Carrero

Department of Mathematical and Statistical Science, University of Alberta

Understanding the dynamical organization of the eukaryotic cell nucleus has become a major task in cellular biology. In particular, describing the mechanism responsible for the formation, maintenance and disappearance of speckles, which are heterogeneously distributed nuclear compartments enriched with pre-mRNA splicing factors, is still an open problem. It has been hypothesized that self-organization of dephosphorylated splicing factors, modulated by a phosphorylation-dephosphorylation cycle, is responsible for the origin and disappearance of speckles. Also, it is thought that the existence of an underlying nuclear structure plays a major role in the organization of splicing factors. Based on these hypotheses, we derive of a fourth-order aggregation-diffusion model that describes a possible mechanism underlying the organization of splicing factors in speckles. A linear stability analysis about homogeneous steady-state solutions will show how the self-interaction among dephosphorylated splicing factors can result in the onset of spatial patterns. Also, a bifurcation analysis of the model will describe how the processes of phosphorylation and dephosphorylation modulate the onset of the compartmentalization of splicing factors.