Understanding the signaling capabilities of a cell presents a major challenge, not only due to the number of molecules involved, but also because of the complex network connectivity of intracellular signaling. Recently, the proliferation of quantitative imaging techniques has led to the discovery of the vast spatial organization of intracellular signaling. Computational modeling has emerged as a powerful tool for understanding how inhomogeneous signaling originates and is maintained. This article covers the current imaging techniques used to obtain quantitative spatial data and the mathematical approaches used to model spatial cell biology. Modeling-derived hypotheses have been experimentally tested and the integration of modeling and imaging approaches has led to non-intuitive mechanistic insights. WIREs Syst Biol Med 2012, 4:103–115. doi: 10.1002/wsbm.155
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"Additionally, the thin dendrites of mouse cortical neurons exhibit larger cAMP and PKA responses than the bulk cytosol (Castro et al., 2010). This data corresponds well to modeling predictions of stronger cAMP and PKA signals in regions which have higher surface area to volume ratios (Neves, 2012). Castro et al. further compared cAMP/PKA responses in mouse brain slices triggered by dopamine D1 receptors in the cortex and the striatum (Castro et al., 2013). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The second messengers cAMP and cGMP transduce many neuromodulatory signals from hormones and neurotransmitters into specific functional outputs. Their production, degradation and signaling are spatiotemporally regulated to achieve high specificity in signal transduction. The development of genetically encodable fluorescent biosensors has provided researchers with useful tools to study these versatile second messengers and their downstream effectors with unparalleled spatial and temporal resolution in cultured cells and living animals. In this review, we introduce the general design of these fluorescent biosensors and describe several of them in more detail. Then we discuss a few examples of using cyclic nucleotide fluorescent biosensors to study regulation of neuronal function and finish with a discussion of advances in the field. Although there has been significant progress made in understanding how the specific signaling of cyclic nucleotide second messengers is achieved, the mechanistic details in complex cell types like neurons are only just beginning to surface. Current and future fluorescent protein reporters will be essential to elucidate the role of cyclic nucleotide signaling dynamics in the functions of individual neurons and their networks.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interactions among signaling pathways that are activated by transmembrane receptors produce complex networks and emergent dynamical behaviors that are implicated in synaptic plasticity. Temporal dynamics and spatial aspects are critical determinants of cell responses such as synaptic plasticity, although the mapping between spatiotemporal activity pattern and direction of synaptic plasticity is not completely understood. Computational modeling of neuronal signaling pathways has significantly contributed to understanding signaling pathways underlying synaptic plasticity. Spatial models of signaling pathways in hippocampal neurons have revealed mechanisms underlying the spatial distribution of extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) activation in hippocampal neurons. Other spatial models have demonstrated that the major role of anchoring proteins in striatal and hippocampal synaptic plasticity is to place molecules near their activators. Simulations of yet other models have revealed that the spatial distribution of synaptic plasticity may differ for potentiation versus depression. In general, the most significant advances have been made by interactive modeling and experiments; thus, an interdisciplinary approach should be applied to investigate critical issues in neuronal signaling pathways. These issues include identifying which transmembrane receptors are key for activating ERK in neurons, and the crucial targets of kinases that produce long-lasting synaptic plasticity. Although the number of computer programs for computationally efficient simulation of large reaction-diffusion networks is increasing, parameter estimation and sensitivity analysis in these spatial models remain more difficult than in single compartment models. Advances in live cell imaging coupled with further software development will continue to accelerate the development of spatial models of synaptic plasticity. (C) 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews Systems Biology and Medicine 11/2013; 5(6). DOI:10.1002/wsbm.1240 · 3.21 Impact Factor
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