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- PublicationComputational modelling of cancerous mutations in the EGFR/ERK signalling pathwayBackground: The Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) activated Extracellular-signal Regulated Kinase (ERK) pathway is a critical cell signalling pathway that relays the signal for a cell to proliferate from the plasma membrane to the nucleus. Deregulation of the EGFR/ERK pathway due to alterations affecting the expression or function of a number of pathway components has long been associated with numerous forms of cancer. Under normal conditions, Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) stimulates a rapid but transient activation of ERK as the signal is rapidly shutdown. Whereas, under cancerous mutation conditions the ERK signal cannot be shutdown and is sustained resulting in the constitutive activation of ERK and continual cell proliferation. In this study, we have used computational modelling techniques to investigate what effects various cancerous alterations have on the signalling flow through the ERK pathway. Results: We have generated a new model of the EGFR activated ERK pathway, which was verified by our own experimental data. We then altered our model to represent various cancerous situations such as Ras, B-Raf and EGFR mutations, as well as EGFR overexpression. Analysis of the models showed that different cancerous situations resulted in different signalling patterns through the ERK pathway, especially when compared to the normal EGF signal pattern. Our model predicts that cancerous EGFR mutation and overexpression signals almost exclusively via the Rap1 pathway, predicting that this pathway is the best target for drugs. Furthermore, our model also highlights the importance of receptor degradation in normal and cancerous EGFR signalling, and suggests that receptor degradation is a key difference between the signalling from the EGF and Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) receptors. Conclusion: Our results suggest that different routes to ERK activation are being utilised in different cancerous situations which therefore has interesting implications for drug selection strategies. We also conducted a comparison of the critical differences between signalling from different growth factor receptors (namely EGFR, mutated EGFR, NGF, and Insulin) with our results suggesting the difference between the systems are large scale and can be attributed to the presence/absence of entire pathways rather than subtle difference in individual rate constants between the systems.
372Scopus© Citations 46
- PublicationInferring Signaling Pathway Topologies from Multiple Perturbation Measurements of Specific Biochemical SpeciesThe specification of biological decisions by signaling pathways is encoded by the interplay between activation dynamics and network topologies. Although we can describe complex networks, we cannot easily determine which topology the cell actually uses to transduce a specific signal. Experimental testing of all plausible topologies is infeasible because of the combinatorially large number of experiments required to explore the complete hypothesis space. Here, we demonstrate that Bayesian inference–based modeling provides an approach to explore and constrain this hypothesis space, permitting the rational ranking of pathway models. Our approach can use measurements of a limited number of biochemical species when combined with multiple perturbations. As proof of concept, we examined the activation of the extracellular signal–regulated kinase (ERK) pathway by epidermal growth factor. The predicted and experimentally validated model shows that both Raf-1 and, unexpectedly, B-Raf are needed to fully activate ERK in two different cell lines. Thus, our formal methodology rationally infers evidentially supported pathway topologies even when a limited number of biochemical and kinetic measurements are available.
Scopus© Citations 69 810