Intermediates, Catalysts, Persistence, and Boundary Steady States

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Michael Marcondes de Freitas, Elisenda Feliu, Carsten Wiuf

For dynamical systems arising from chemical reaction networks, persistence is the property that each species concentration remains positively bounded away from zero, as long as species concentrations were all positive in the beginning. We describe two graphical procedures for simplifying reaction networks without breaking known necessary or sufficient conditions for persistence, by iteratively removing so-called intermediates and catalysts from the network. The procedures are easy to apply and, in many cases, lead to highly simplified network structures, such as monomolecular networks. For specific classes of reaction networks, we show that these conditions are equivalent to one another and, thus, necessary and sufficient for persistence. Furthermore, they can also be characterized by easily checkable strong connectivity properties of the underlying graph. In particular, this is the case for (conservative) monomolecular networks, as well as cascades of a large class of post-translational modification systems (of which the MAPK cascade and the $n$-site futile cycle are prominent examples). Since the aforementioned sufficient conditions for persistence preclude the existence of boundary steady states, our method also provides a graphical tool to check for that.
TidsskriftJournal of Mathematical Biology
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)887–932
StatusUdgivet - 2017


  • math.DS, q-bio.MN

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