Uncovering bistability in the Rac1/RhoA signalling network through integrating computational modelling and experimentation

Alex von Kriegsheim, Lan K. Nguyen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review


The members of the Rho family of small guanosine triphosphatases (GTPases), Rac1 and RhoA, play critical roles in the regulation of cell migration, actin dynamics, and cytoskeletal system. It has been long known that a mutual inhibition relationship exists between Rac1 and RhoA, and the Rac1/RhoA circuitry has been theoretically predicted to be capable of displaying bistability, a phenomenon whereby a system could settle in either one of the two stable steady states. However, it was only until recently that bistable behavior was demonstrated experimentally both at the biochemical and cellular phenotypic levels, through an integrative approach combining computational modeling and wet-lab experimentation. Here, we describe how such systems biology approaches could be employed to uncover bistability and its hallmark features, using the Rac1/RhoA network as an illustrative example. This may provide guidance for future work aimed at identifying bistable behaviors in other cellular processes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRho GTPases
EditorsFrancisco Rivero
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherHumana Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781493986125
ISBN (Print)9781493986118
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press
ISSN (Print)1064-3745
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6029


  • Rac1
  • RhoA
  • bistability
  • hysteresis
  • cell migration
  • dynamic modeling
  • systems biology

Cite this