Measurement and Modeling of Signaling at the Single-Cell Level
ABSTRACT It has long been recognized that a deeper understanding of cell function, with respect to execution of phenotypic behaviors and their regulation by the extracellular environment, is likely to be achieved by analyzing the underlying molecular processes for individual cells selected from across a population, rather than averages of many cells comprising that population. In recent years, experimental and computational methods for undertaking these analyses have advanced rapidly. In this review, we provide a perspective on both measurement and modeling facets of biochemistry at a single-cell level. Our central focus is on receptor-mediated signaling networks that regulate cell phenotypic functions.
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF) pathway is driving various aspects of cellular responses in both normal and malignant cells. One interesting characteristic of this pathway is the biphasic nature of the cellular response to some FGF ligands like FGF2. Specifically, it has been shown that phenotypic behaviors controlled by FGF signaling, like migration and growth, reach maximal levels in response to intermediate concentrations, while high levels of FGF2 elicit weak responses. The mechanisms leading to the observed biphasic response remains unexplained. RESULTS: A combination of experiments and computational modeling was used to understand the mechanism behind the observed biphasic signaling responses. FGF signaling involves a tertiary surface interaction that we captured with a computational model based on Ordinary Differential Equations (ODEs). It accounts for FGF2 binding to FGF receptors (FGFRs) and heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycans (HSGAGs), followed by receptor-phosphorylation, activation of the FRS2 adapter protein and the Ras-Raf signaling cascade. Quantitative protein assays were used to measure the dynamics of phosphorylated ERK (pERK) in response to a wide range of FGF2 ligand concentrations on a fine-grained time scale for the squamous cell lung cancer cell line H1703. We developed a novel approach combining Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) and feature-based constraints in the objective function to calibrate the computational model to the experimental data. The model is validated using a series of extracellular and intracellular perturbation experiments. We demonstrate that in silico model predictions are in accordance with the observed in vitro results. CONCLUSIONS: Using a combined approach of computational modeling and experiments we found that competition between binding of the ligand FGF2 to HSGAG and FGF receptor leads to the biphasic response. At low to intermediate concentrations of FGF2 there are sufficient free FGF receptors available for the FGF2-HSGAG complex to enable the formation of the trimeric signaling unit. At high ligand concentrations the ligand binding sites of the receptor become saturated and the trimeric signaling unit cannot be formed. This insight into the pathway is an important consideration for the pharmacological inhibition of this pathway.Cell Communication and Signaling 01/2014; 12(1):34. DOI:10.1186/1478-811X-12-34 · 4.67 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Rule-based modeling was developed to address the limitations of traditional approaches for modeling chemical kinetics in cell signaling systems. These systems consist of multiple interacting biomolecules (e.g., proteins), which themselves consist of multiple parts (e.g., domains, linear motifs, and sites of phosphorylation). Consequently, biomolecules that mediate information processing generally have the potential to interact in multiple ways, with the number of possible complexes and posttranslational modification states tending to grow exponentially with the number of binary interactions considered. As a result, only large reaction networks capture all possible consequences of the molecular interactions that occur in a cell signaling system, which is problematic because traditional modeling approaches for chemical kinetics (e.g., ordinary differential equations) require explicit network specification. This problem is circumvented through representation of interactions in terms of local rules. With this approach, network specification is implicit and model specification is concise. Concise representation results in a coarse graining of chemical kinetics, which is introduced because all reactions implied by a rule inherit the rate law associated with that rule. Coarse graining can be appropriate if interactions are modular, and the coarseness of a model can be adjusted as needed. Rules can be specified using specialized model-specification languages, and recently developed tools designed for specification of rule-based models allow one to leverage powerful software engineering capabilities. A rule-based model comprises a set of rules, which can be processed by general-purpose simulation and analysis tools to achieve different objectives (e.g., to perform either a deterministic or stochastic simulation). For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website. Conflict of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article.Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews Systems Biology and Medicine 09/2013; 6(1). DOI:10.1002/wsbm.1245 · 3.68 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Logic modeling is a useful tool to study signal transduction across multiple pathways. Logic models can be generated by training a network containing the prior knowledge to phospho-proteomics data. The training can be performed using stochastic optimization procedures, but these are unable to guarantee a global optima nor to report the complete family of feasible models. This, however, is essential to provide precise insight in the mechanisms underlaying signal transduction and generate reliable predictions. We propose the use of Answer Set Programming (ASP) to explore exhaustively the space of feasible logic models. Towards this end, we have developed caspo, an open-source Python package which provides a powerful platform to learn and characterize logic models by leveraging the rich modeling language and solving technologies of ASP. We illustrate the usefulness of caspo by revisiting a model of pro-growth and inflammatory pathways in liver cells. We show that, if experimental error is taken into account, there are thousands (11,700) of models compatible with the data. Despite the large number, we can extract structural features from the models, such as links that are always (or never) present or modules that appear in a mutual exclusive fashion. To further characterize this family of models, we investigate the input-output behavior of the models. We find 91 behaviors across the 11,700 models and we suggest new experiments to discriminate among them. Our results underscore the importance of characterizing in a global and exhaustive manner the family of feasible models, with important implications for experimental design. caspo is freely available for download (license GPLv3) and as a web service at http://caspo.genouest.org/. email@example.com.Bioinformatics 07/2013; DOI:10.1093/bioinformatics/btt393 · 4.62 Impact Factor