A simplified model of chromatin dynamics drives differentiation process in Boolean models of GRN

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Michele Braccini, Andrea Roli, Marco Villani, Sara Montagna, Roberto Serra
The 2019 Conference on Artificial Life, pages 211–217

Cellular types of multicellular organisms are the stable results of complex intertwined processes that occur in biological cells. Among the many others, chromatin dynamics significantly contributes—by modulating access to genes—to differential gene expression, and ultimately to determine cell types. Here, we propose a dynamical model of differentiation based on a simplified bio-inspired methylation mechanism in Boolean models of GRNs. Preliminary results show that, as the number of methylated nodes increases, there is a decrease in attractor number and networks tend to assume dynamical behaviours typical of ordered ensembles. At the same time, results show that this mechanism does not affect the possibility of generating path dependent differentiation: cell types determined by the specific sequence of methylated genes.