Biological Regulation

Regulation

Biological regulation is defined as any process that modulates the frequency, rate or extent of any biological process, quality or function.

The regulates relation

In addition to terms, the ontology uses the regulates relationship means that the term is a process that modulates its parent process. For example, regulation of transcription regulates transcription. The regulation of a process is not a part of the process itself. For example, regulation of transcription describes the processes that affect the transcriptional machinery to modulate its activity, but those processes are not necessarily involved in transcription.

More information about the regulates relation and its properties can be found in the GO relationship guide.

Terms and structure

Any biological process can be regulated, and that regulation may be further classified as positive or negative. The standard structure for the regulation of a process is:

process
[r] regulation of process
---[i] negative regulation of process
---[i] positive regulation of process
[r-] negative regulation of process
[r+] positive regulation of process

Regulation terms are also be given parentage under the most specific regulation term in the general regulation hierarchy under regulation of biological process ; GO:0050789.

regulation of biological process ; GO:0050789
---[i] positive regulation of biological process; GO:0048518
------[i] positive regulation of process
---[i] negative regulation of biological process; GO:0048519
------[i] negative regulation of process
...
---[i] regulation of process
------[i] negative regulation of process
------[i] positive regulation of process

Regulation can also be applied to functions, such as enzyme reactions and binding to substances. These terms have is a parentage under the term regulation of molecular function. There will also be a corresponding term in the molecular function ontology; in the future, inter-ontology links will be made between these terms. For example:

biological process
[i] biological regulation
---[i] regulation of molecular function
------[i] regulation of protein binding
...
molecular function
[i] protein binding


---[r] regulation of protein binding

GO also contains regulation terms representing the regulation of a phenotype rather than a process; for example, regulation of cell size ; GO:0008361 and regulation of neuronal synaptic plasticity ; GO:0048168. These terms have is a parentage to the regulation of biological quality ; GO:0065008. An example of parentage is shown below:

regulation of biological quality ; GO:0048168
[i] regulation of cell shape
...
regulation of cellular morphogenesis
[i] regulation of cell shape

Note that it would not make sense to have a term of the form 'regulation of protein name', e.g. regulation of actin, because a protein is neither a process nor a function, so there is no indication of what biological activity is being regulated. If terms of this sort are desired, they should be given names that represent the actual biological processes or molecular functions that they regulate.

Positive regulation can be split into three subtypes, the initiation or start up of an inactive process, the maintenance of a process already occurring, and the increase in rate of an existing process. In GO, this distinction is captured by the terms 'activation of process', to represent the start up of a process, 'maintenance of process', and 'upregulation of process', the acceleration of an existing process.

Similarly, negative regulation can be split into the cessation or halting of a process and the decrease in rate, but not stopping, of a process, and the prevention of an inactive process from becoming active. GO represents this using the terms 'downregulation of process', 'termination of process' and 'inhibition of process' respectively.

process
[r] regulation of process
---[i] negative regulation of process
------[i] downregulation of process
------[i] inhibition of process
------[i] termination of process
---[i] positive regulation of process
------[i] activation of process
------[i] maintenance of process
------[i] upregulation of process

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Standard definitions

regulation of process
Any process that modulates the frequency, rate or extent of process, [definition of process].
regulation of enzyme activity
Any process that modulates the frequency, rate or extent of enzyme activity, the catalysis of the reaction: [reaction].
regulation of function
Any process that modulates the frequency, rate or extent of function, [definition of function].
regulation of phenotype
Any process that modulates phenotype, [description of phenotype].
negative regulation of process
Any process that stops, prevents or reduces the frequency, rate or extent of process, [definition of process].
Can also be used with functions.
positive regulation of process
Any process that activates, maintains or increases the frequency, rate or extent of process, [definition of process].
Can also be used with functions.
activation of process
Any process that starts the inactive process process, [definition of process].
Can also be used with functions.
activation of enzyme activity
Any process that initiates the activity of the inactive enzyme enzyme name.
The initiation of the activity of the inactive enzyme enzyme name by process.
maintenance of process
Any process that maintains the frequency, rate or extent of the active process process, [definition of process].
Can also be used with functions.
maintenance of phenotype
Any process that maintains phenotype, [description of phenotype].
upregulation of process
Any process that increases the frequency, rate or extent of the active process process, [definition of process].
Can also be used with functions.
downregulation of process
Any process that reduces the frequency, rate or extent of, but does not terminate, the active process process, [definition of process].
Can also be used with functions.
inhibition of process
Any process that prevents the activation of the inactive process process, [definition of process].
Can also be used with functions.
termination of process
Any process that stops the active process process, [definition of process].
Can also be used with functions.
inactivation of enzyme activity
Any process that terminates the activity of the active enzyme enzyme name.
The termination of the activity of the active enzyme enzyme name by process.

Standard synonyms

The following synonyms can be added to terms as long as the synonym string makes sense and does not have alternative meanings.

regulation of process
narrow: process regulator
regulation of process
exact: control of process
activation of process
exact: establishment of process
broad: induction of process
activation of process by xxx
exact: xxx-induced process
inhibition of process
exact: prevention of process
downregulation of process
exact: suppression of process
termination of process
exact: inactivation of process

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Last modified on 24/09/2012