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 [process]es 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]

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].
regulation of [process] by [xxx] Any [process] that modulates the frequency, rate or extent of [process], [definition of [process]].
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.
establishment of phenotype Any [process] that ??? [formation/setting up/generation] phenotype, [description of phenotype].
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]