top of page

A robust method for designing multistable systems by embedding bistable subsystems

Siyuan Wu, Tianshou Zhou and Tianhai Tian

Wu S. and Tian T.: School of Mathematics, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Zhou T.: School of Mathematics and Statistics, Sun Yet-Sen University, Guangzhou, China

Although multistability is an important dynamic property of a wide range of complex systems, it is still a challenge to develop mathematical models for realising high order multistability using realistic regulatory mechanisms. To address this issue, we propose a robust method to develop multistable mathematical models by embedding bistable models together. Using the GATA1-GATA2-PU.1 module in hematopoiesis as the test system, we first develop a tristable model based on two bistable models without any high cooperative coefficients, and then modify the tristable model based on experimentally determined mechanisms. The modified model successfully realises four stable steady states and accurately reflects a recent experimental observation showing four transcriptional states. In addition, we develop a stochastic model, and stochastic simulations successfully realise the experimental observations in single cells. These results suggest that the proposed method is a general approach to develop mathematical models for realising multistability and heterogeneity in complex systems.

bottom of page