Understanding the signaling capabilities of a cell presents a major challenge, not only due to the number of molecules involved, but also because of the complex network connectivity of intracellular signaling. Recently, the proliferation of quantitative imaging techniques has led to the discovery of the vast spatial organization of intracellular signaling. Computational modeling has emerged as a powerful tool for understanding how inhomogeneous signaling originates and is maintained. This article covers the current imaging techniques used to obtain quantitative spatial data and the mathematical approaches used to model spatial cell biology. Modeling-derived hypotheses have been experimentally tested and the integration of modeling and imaging approaches has led to non-intuitive mechanistic insights.
Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.