Formal Aspects of Computing

, Volume 20, Issue 4–5, pp 351–377 | Cite as

Bisimulations in calculi modelling membranes

  • Roberto Barbuti
  • Andrea Maggiolo-Schettini
  • Paolo Milazzo
  • Angelo Troina
Original Article


Bisimulations are well-established behavioural equivalences that are widely used to study properties of computer science systems. Bisimulations assume the behaviour of systems to be described as labelled transition systems, and properties of a system can be verified by assessing its bisimilarity with a system one knows to enjoy those properties.

In this paper we show how semantics based on labelled transition systems and bisimulations can be defined for two formalisms for the description of biological systems, both capable of describing membrane interactions. These two formalisms are the Calculus of Looping Sequences (CLS) and Brane Calculi, and since they stem from two different approaches (rewrite systems and process calculi) bisimulation appears to be a good candidate as a general verification method.

We introduce CLS and define a labelled semantics and bisimulations for which we prove some congruence results. We show how bisimulations can be used to verify properties by way of two examples: the description of the regulation of lactose degradation in Escherichia coli and the description of the EGF signalling pathway. We recall the PEP calculus (the simplest of Brane Calculi) and its translation into CLS, we define a labelled semantics and some bisimulation congruences for PEP processes, and we prove that bisimilar PEP processes are translated into bisimilar CLS terms.


Calculus of Looping Sequences Brane Calculi Labelled Semantics Bisimulations Bioinformatics 


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Copyright information

© British Computer Society 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberto Barbuti
    • 1
  • Andrea Maggiolo-Schettini
    • 1
  • Paolo Milazzo
    • 1
  • Angelo Troina
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento di InformaticaUniversità di PisaPisaItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di InformaticaUniversità di TorinoTorinoItaly

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