Formal representation of the high osmolarity glycerol pathway in yeast

Genome Inform. 2010 Jan;22:69-83.


The high osmolarity glycerol (HOG) signalling system in yeast belongs to the class of Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) pathways that are found in all eukaryotic organisms. It includes at least three scaffold proteins that form complexes, and involves reactions that are strictly dependent on the set of species bound to a certain complex. The scaffold proteins lead to a combinatorial increase in the number of possible states. To date, representations of the HOG pathway have used simplifying assumptions to avoid this combinatorial problem. Such assumptions are hard to make and may obscure or remove essential properties of the system. This paper presents a detailed generic formal representation of the HOG system without such assumptions, showing the molecular interactions known from the literature. The model takes complexes into account, and summarises existing knowledge in an unambiguous and detailed representation. It can thus be used to anchor discussions about the HOG system. In the commonly used Systems Biology Markup Language (SBML), such a model would need to explicitly enumerate all state variables. The Kappa modelling language which we use supports representation of complexes without such enumeration. To conclude, we compare Kappa with a few other modelling languages and software tools that could also be used to represent and model the HOG system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Glycerol / metabolism*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Osmotic Pressure
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / growth & development
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance


  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Glycerol