Recent advances in photonic imaging and fluorescent protein technology offer unprecedented views of molecular space-time dynamics in living cells. At the same time, advances in computing hardware and software enable modeling of ever more complex systems, from global climate to cell division. As modeling and experiment become more closely integrated we must address the issue of modeling cellular processes in 3D. Here, we highlight recent advances related to 3D modeling in cell biology. While some processes require full 3D analysis, we suggest that others are more naturally described in 2D or 1D. Keeping the dimensionality as low as possible reduces computational time and makes models more intuitively comprehensible; however, the ability to test full 3D models will build greater confidence in models generally and remains an important emerging area of cell biological modeling.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank R. Paul for donating Figure 1 d. This work was supported by National Science Foundation grant DMS-0315782 and by National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant GM-068952 to A.M., and by NIH Grants GM-071522, GM-076177, and CA-145044 to D.O.