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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 752631, 34 pages
Research Article

Estimating Network Kinetics of the MAPK/ERK Pathway Using Biochemical Data

1Department of Statistics, Middle East Technical University, 06800 Ankara, Turkey
2Institute of Mathematics and Computing Science, Groningen University, 9747 AG Groningen, The Netherlands

Received 29 June 2012; Revised 11 September 2012; Accepted 12 September 2012

Academic Editor: Ming Li

Copyright © 2012 Vilda Purutçuoğlu and Ernst Wit. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The MAPK/ERK pathway is a major signal transduction system which regulates many fundamental cellular processes including the growth control and the cell death. As a result of these roles, it has a crucial importance in cancer as well as normal developmental processes. Therefore, it has been intensively studied resulting in a wealth of knowledge about its activation. It is also well documented that the activation kinetics of the pathway is crucial to determine the nature of the biological response. However, while individual biochemical steps are well characterized, it is still difficult to predict or even understand how the activation kinetics works. The aim of this paper is to estimate the stochastic rate constants of the MAPK/ERK network dynamics. Accordingly, taking a Bayesian approach, we combined underlying qualitative biological knowledge in several competing dynamic models via sets of quasireactions and estimated the stochastic rate constants of these reactions. Comparing the resulting estimates via the BIC and DIC criteria, we chose a biological model which includes EGFR degradation—Raf-MEK-ERK cascade without the involvement of RKIPs.