Book Chapter for Cell Engineering: Chemical Organization Theory

Peter Dittrich, Pietro Speroni di Fenizio (2006)
Chemical Organization Theory
In: M. Al-Rubeai, M. Fussenegger (Eds.);
Cell Engineering, Volume 5: Systems Biology, Springer



Complex dynamical reaction networks consisting of many molecular species are difficult to understand, especially, when new species may appear and present species may vanish completely. This chapter outlines a technique to deal with such systems. The first part introduces the concept of a chemical organisation as a closed and self-maintaining set of molecular species. This concept allows to map a complex (reaction) network to its set of organisations, providing a new view on the system’s structure. The second part connects dynamics with the set of organisations, which allows to map a movement of the system in state space to a movement in the set of organisations. The relevancy of this approach is underlined by a theorem that says that given a differential equation describing the chemical dynamics of the network, then every stationary state is an instance of an organisation. Finally, the relation between pathways and chemical organisations is sketched