Now showing 1 - 10 of 21
  • Publication
    Integrated signaling pathway and gene expression regulatory model to dissect dynamics of Escherichia coli challenged mammary epithelial cells
    Cells transform external stimuli, through the activation of signaling pathways, which in turn activate gene regulatory networks, in gene expression. As more omics data are generated from experiments, eliciting the integrated relationship between the external stimuli, the signaling process in the cell and the subsequent gene expression is a major challenge in systems biology. The complex system of non-linear dynamic protein interactions in signaling pathways and gene networks regulates gene expression. The complexity and non-linear aspects have resulted in the study of the signaling pathway or the gene network regulation in isolation. However, this limits the analysis of the interaction between the two components and the identification of the source of the mechanism differentiating the gene expression profiles. Here, we present a study of a model of the combined signaling pathway and gene network to highlight the importance of integrated modeling. Based on the experimental findings we developed a compartmental model and conducted several simulation experiments. The model simulates the mRNA expression of three different cytokines (RANTES, IL8 and TNFα) regulated by the transcription factor NFκB in mammary epithelial cells challenged with E. coli. The analysis of the gene network regulation identifies a lack of robustness and therefore sensitivity for the transcription factor regulation. However, analysis of the integrated signaling and gene network regulation model reveals distinctly different underlying mechanisms in the signaling pathway responsible for the variation between the three cytokine's mRNA expression levels. Our key findings reveal the importance of integrating the signaling pathway and gene expression dynamics in modeling. Modeling infers valid research questions which need to be verified experimentally and can assist in the design of future biological experiments.
      274Scopus© Citations 7
  • Publication
    Substrate-Trapped Interactors of PHD3 and FIH Cluster in Distinct Signaling Pathways
    Amino acid hydroxylation is a post-translational modification that regulates intra- and inter-molecular protein-protein interactions. The modifications are regulated by a family of 2-oxoglutarate- (2OG) dependent enzymes and, although the biochemistry is well understood, until now only a few substrates have been described for these enzymes. Using quantitative interaction proteomics, we screened for substrates of the proline hydroxylase PHD3 and the asparagine hydroxylase FIH, which regulate the HIF-mediated hypoxic response. We were able to identify hundreds of potential substrates. Enrichment analysis revealed that the potential substrates of both hydroxylases cluster in the same pathways but frequently modify different nodes of signaling networks. We confirm that two proteins identified in our screen, MAPK6 (Erk3) and RIPK4, are indeed hydroxylated in a FIH- or PHD3-dependent mechanism. We further determined that FIH-dependent hydroxylation regulates RIPK4-dependent Wnt signaling, and that PHD3-dependent hydroxylation of MAPK6 protects the protein from proteasomal degradation.
      296Scopus© Citations 70
  • Publication
    Understanding complexity in the HIF signaling pathway using systems biology and mathematical modeling
    Hypoxia is a common micro-environmental stress which is experienced by cells during a range of physiologic and pathophysiologic processes. The identification of the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) as the master regulator of the transcriptional response to hypoxia transformed our understanding of the mechanism underpinning the hypoxic response at the molecular level and identified HIF as a potentially important new therapeutic target. It has recently become clear that multiple levels of regulatory control exert influence on the HIF pathway giving the response a complex and dynamic activity profile. These include positive and negative feedback loops within the HIF pathway as well as multiple levels of crosstalk with other signaling pathways. The emerging model reflects a multi-level regulatory network that affects multiple aspects of the physiologic response to hypoxia including proliferation, apoptosis, and differentiation. Understanding the interplay between the molecular mechanisms involved in the dynamic regulation of the HIF pathway at a systems level is critically important in defining new appropriate therapeutic targets for human diseases including ischemia, cancer, and chronic inflammation. Here, we review our current knowledge of the regulatory circuits which exert influence over the HIF response and give examples of in silico model-based predictions of the dynamic behaviour of this system.
      457Scopus© Citations 20
  • Publication
    DYVIPAC: an integrated analysis and visualisation framework to probe multi-dimensional biological networks
    Biochemical networks are dynamic and multi-dimensional systems, consisting of tens or hundreds of molecular components. Diseases such as cancer commonly arise due to changes in the dynamics of signalling and gene regulatory networks caused by genetic alternations. Elucidating the network dynamics in health and disease is crucial to better understand the disease mechanisms and derive effective therapeutic strategies. However, current approaches to analyse and visualise systems dynamics can often provide only low-dimensional projections of the network dynamics, which often does not present the multi-dimensional picture of the system behaviour. More efficient and reliable methods for multi-dimensional systems analysis and visualisation are thus required. To address this issue, we here present an integrated analysis and visualisation framework for high-dimensional network behaviour which exploits the advantages provided by parallel coordinates graphs. We demonstrate the applicability of the framework, named “Dynamics Visualisation based on Parallel Coordinates” (DYVIPAC), to a variety of signalling networks ranging in topological wirings and dynamic properties. The framework was proved useful in acquiring an integrated understanding of systems behaviour.
      257Scopus© Citations 19
  • Publication
    Bistability in the Rac1, PAK, and RhoA Signaling Network Drives Actin Cytoskeleton Dynamics and Cell Motility Switches
    Dynamic interactions between RhoA and Rac1, members of the Rho small GTPase family, play a vital role in the control of cell migration. Using predictive mathematical modeling, mass spectrometry-based quantitation of network components, and experimental validation in MDA-MB-231 mesenchymal breast cancer cells, we show that a network containing Rac1, RhoA, and PAK family kinases can produce bistable, switch-like responses to a graded PAK inhibition. Using a small chemical inhibitor of PAK, we demonstrate that cellular RhoA and Rac1 activation levels respond in a history-dependent, bistable manner to PAK inhibition. Consequently, we show that downstream signaling, actin dynamics, and cell migration also behave in a bistable fashion, displaying switches and hysteresis in response to PAK inhibition. Our results demonstrate that PAK is a critical component in the Rac1-RhoA inhibitory crosstalk that governs bistable GTPase activity, cell morphology, and cell migration switches.
      396Scopus© Citations 122
  • Publication
    Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) network: insights from mathematical models
    (Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.), 2013) ; ;
    Oxygen is a crucial molecule for cellular function. When oxygen demand exceeds supply, the oxygen sensing pathway centred on the hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) is switched on and promotes adaptation to hypoxia by up-regulating genes involved in angiogenesis, erythropoiesis and glycolysis. The regulation of HIF is tightly modulated through intricate regulatory mechanisms. Notably, its protein stability is controlled by the oxygen sensing prolyl hydroxylase domain (PHD) enzymes and its transcriptional activity is controlled by the asparaginyl hydroxylase FIH (factor inhibiting HIF-1). To probe the complexity of hypoxia-induced HIF signalling, efforts in mathematical modelling of the pathway have been underway for around a decade. In this paper, we review the existing mathematical models developed to describe and explain specific behaviours of the HIF pathway and how they have contributed new insights into our understanding of the network. Topics for modelling included the switch-like response to decreased oxygen gradient, the role of micro environmental factors, the regulation by FIH and the temporal dynamics of the HIF response. We will also discuss the technical aspects, extent and limitations of these models. Recently, HIF pathway has been implicated in other disease contexts such as hypoxic inflammation and cancer through crosstalking with pathways like NFκB and mTOR. We will examine how future mathematical modelling and simulation of interlinked networks can aid in understanding HIF behaviour in complex pathophysiological situations. Ultimately this would allow the identification of new pharmacological targets in different disease settings.
      338Scopus© Citations 53
  • Publication
    Regulation of oscillation dynamics in biochemical systems with dual negative feedback loops
    (The Royal Society, 2012-03-14)
    Feedback controls are central to cellular regulation. Negative-feedback mechanisms are well known to underline oscillatory dynamics. However, the presence of multiple negative-feedback mechanisms is common in oscillatory cellular systems, raising intriguing questions of how they cooperate to regulate oscillations. In this work, we studied the dynamical properties of a set of general biochemical motifs with dual, nested negative-feedback structures. We showed analytically and then confirmed numerically that, in these motifs, each negative-feedback loop exhibits distinctly different oscillation-controlling functions. The longer, outer feedback loop was found to promote oscillations, whereas the short, inner loop suppresses and can even eliminate oscillations. We found that the position of the inner loop within the coupled motifs affects its repression strength towards oscillatory dynamics. Bifurcation analysis indicated that emergence of oscillations may be a strict parametric requirement and thus evolutionarily tricky. Investigation of the quantitative features of oscillations (i.e. frequency, amplitude and mean value) revealed that coupling negative feedback provides robust tuning of the oscillation dynamics. Finally, we demonstrated that the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades also display properties seen in the general nested feedback motifs. The findings and implications in this study provide novel understanding of biochemical negative-feedback regulation in a mixed wiring context.
      370Scopus© Citations 26
  • Publication
    Protein-protein interactions generate hidden feedback and feed-forward loops to trigger bistable switches, oscillations and biphasic dose-responses
    Protein-protein interactions (PPIs) defined as reversible association of two proteins to form a complex, are undoubtedly among the most common interaction motifs featured in cells. Recent large-scale proteomic studies have revealed an enormously complex interactome of the cell, consisting of tens of thousands of PPIs with numerous signalling hubs. PPIs have functional roles in regulating a wide range of cellular processes including signal transduction and post-translational modifications, and de-regulation of PPIs is implicated in many diseases including cancers and neuro-degenerative disorders. Despite the ubiquitous appearance and physiological significance of PPIs, our understanding of the dynamic and functional consequences of these simple motifs remains incomplete, particularly when PPIs occur within large biochemical networks. We employ quantitative, dynamic modelling to computationally analyse salient dynamic features of the PPI motifs and PPI-containing signalling networks varying in topological architecture. Our analyses surprisingly reveal that simple reversible PPI motifs, when being embedded into signalling cascades, could give rise to extremely rich and complex regulatory dynamics in the absence of explicit positive and negative feedback loops. Our work represents a systematic investigation of the dynamic properties of PPIs in signalling networks, and the results shed light on how this simple event may potentiate diverse and intricate behaviours in vivo.
      394Scopus© Citations 24
  • Publication
    Feedback regulation in cell signalling: Lessons for cancer therapeutics
    The notion of feedback is fundamental for understanding signal transduction networks. Feedback loops attenuate or amplify signals, change the network dynamics and modify the input-output relationships between the signal and the target. Negative feedback provides robustness to noise and adaptation to perturbations, but as a double-edged sword can prevent effective pathway inhibition by a drug. Positive feedback brings about switch-like network responses and can convert analog input signals into digital outputs, triggering cell fate decisions and phenotypic changes. We show how a multitude of protein-protein interactions creates hidden feedback loops in signal transduction cascades. Drug treatments that interfere with feedback regulation can cause unexpected adverse effects. Combinatorial molecular interactions generated by pathway crosstalk and feedback loops often bypass the block caused by targeted therapies against oncogenic mutated kinases. We discuss mechanisms of drug resistance caused by network adaptations and suggest that development of effective drug combinations requires understanding of how feedback loops modulate drug responses.
      1020Scopus© Citations 46
  • Publication
    Signalling by protein phosphatases and drug development: a systems-centred view
    (Wiley Blackwell (Blackwell Publishing), 2012-03-14) ; ; ;
    Protein modification cycles catalysed by opposing enzymes, such as kinases and phosphatases, form the backbone of signalling networks. Although, historically, kinases have been at the research forefront, a systems-centred approach reveals predominant roles for phosphatases in controlling the network response times and spatio-temporal profiles of signalling activities. Emerging evidence suggests that phosphatase kinetics are critical for network function and cell-fate decisions. Protein phosphatases operate as both immediate and delayed regulators of signal transduction, capable of attenuating or amplifying signalling. This versatility of phosphatase action emphasizes the need for systems biology approaches to understand cellular signalling networks and predict the cellular outcomes of combinatorial drug interventions.
      866Scopus© Citations 47