Improved Methods for the Mathematically Controlled Comparison of Biochemical Systems
Schwacke, John H.
Voit, Eberhard O.
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The method of mathematically controlled comparison provides a structured approach for the comparison of alternative biochemical pathways with respect to selected functional effectiveness measures. Under this approach, alternative implementations of a biochemical pathway are modeled mathematically, forced to be equivalent through the application of selected constraints, and compared with respect to selected functional effectiveness measures. While the method has been applied successfully in a variety of studies, we offer recommendations for improvements to the method that (1) relax requirements for definition of constraints sufficient to remove all degrees of freedom in forming the equivalent alternative, (2) facilitate generalization of the results thus avoiding the need to condition those findings on the selected constraints, and (3) provide additional insights into the effect of selected constraints on the functional effectiveness measures. We present improvements to the method and related statistical models, apply the method to a previously conducted comparison of network regulation in the immune system, and compare our results to those previously reported.