Motivation

Molecular interaction maps have emerged as a meaningful way of representing biological mechanisms in a comprehensive and systematic manner. However, their static nature provides limited insights to the emerging behaviour of the described biological system under different conditions. Computational modelling provides the means to study dynamic properties through in silico simulations and perturbations. We aim to bridge the gap between static and dynamic representations of biological systems with CaSQ, a software tool that infers Boolean rules based on the topology and semantics of molecular interaction maps built with CellDesigner.

Results

We developed CaSQ by defining conversion rules and logical formulas for inferred Boolean models according to the topology and the annotations of the starting molecular interaction maps. We used CaSQ to produce executable files of existing molecular maps that differ in size, complexity and the use of Systems Biology Graphical Notation (SBGN) standards. We also compared, where possible, the manually built logical models corresponding to a molecular map to the ones inferred by CaSQ. The tool is able to process large and complex maps built with CellDesigner (either following SBGN standards or not) and produce Boolean models in a standard output format, Systems Biology Marked Up Language-qualitative (SBML-qual), that can be further analyzed using popular modelling tools. References, annotations and layout of the CellDesigner molecular map are retained in the obtained model, facilitating interoperability and model reusability.

Availability and implementation

The present tool is available online: https://lifeware.inria.fr/∼soliman/post/casq/ and distributed as a Python package under the GNU GPLv3 license. The code can be accessed here: https://gitlab.inria.fr/soliman/casq.

Supplementary information

Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.