A multiple timescale analysis of a mathematical model of the Wnt/beta-catenin signalling pathway.
Mirams GR., Byrne HM., King JR.
The Wnt signalling pathway is involved in stem cell maintenance, differentiation and tissue development. Its disregulation has also been implicated in many cancers. Beta-catenin is a protein that regulates both transcription of many genes and cell-cell adhesion; in response to an external Wnt stimulus the intracellular levels of beta-catenin are controlled by the proteins which make up the Wnt/beta-catenin signalling pathway. In this paper we present a systematic asymptotic analysis of an existing model of the Wnt signalling pathway due to Lee et al. (PLoS Biol 1:116-132, 2003), highlighting the operation of different pathway components over different timescales. Guided by this analysis we derive a simplified model which is shown to retain the essential behaviour of the full Wnt pathway, recreating the accumulation and degradation of beta-catenin in response to a Wnt stimulus.