Stability of Signaling Pathways during Aging-A Boolean Network Approach.
ABSTRACT: Biological pathways are thought to be robust against a variety of internal and external perturbations. Fail-safe mechanisms allow for compensation of perturbations to maintain the characteristic function of a pathway. Pathways can undergo changes during aging, which may lead to changes in their stability. Less stable or less robust pathways may be consequential to or increase the susceptibility of the development of diseases. Among others, NF- ? B signaling is a crucial pathway in the process of aging. The NF- ? B system is involved in the immune response and dealing with various internal and external stresses. Boolean networks as models of biological pathways allow for simulation of signaling behavior. They can help to identify which proposed mechanisms are biologically representative and which ones function but do not mirror physical processes-for instance, changes of signaling pathways during the aging process. Boolean networks can be inferred from time-series of gene expression data. This allows us to get insights into the changes of behavior of pathways such as NF- ? B signaling in aged organisms in comparison to young ones.
Project description:Apoptosis is regulated by several signaling pathways which are extensively linked by crosstalks. Boolean or logical modeling has become a promising approach to capture the qualitative behavior of such complex networks. Here we built a large-scale literature-based Boolean model of the central intrinsic and extrinsic apoptosis pathways as well as pathways connected with them. The model responds to several external stimuli such as Fas ligand, TNF-alpha, UV-B irradiation, interleukin-1beta and insulin. Timescales and multi-value node logic were used and turned out to be indispensable to reproduce the behavior of the apoptotic network. The coherence of the model was experimentally validated. Thereby an UV-B dose-effect is shown for the first time in mouse hepatocytes. Analysis of the model revealed a tight regulation emerging from high connectivity and spanning crosstalks and a particular importance of feedback loops. An unexpected feedback from Smac release to RIP could further increase complex II formation. The introduced Boolean model provides a comprehensive and coherent description of the apoptosis network behavior. It gives new insights into the complex interplay of pro- and antiapoptotic factors and can be easily expanded to other signaling pathways.
Project description:Quantitative systems pharmacology (QSP) is an emerging discipline that aims to discover how drugs modulate the dynamics of biological components in molecular and cellular networks and the impact of those perturbations on human pathophysiology. The integration of systems-based experimental and computational approaches is required to facilitate the advancement of this field. QSP models typically consist of a series of ordinary differential equations (ODE). However, this mathematical framework requires extensive knowledge of parameters pertaining to biological processes, which is often unavailable. An alternative framework that does not require knowledge of system-specific parameters, such as Boolean network modeling, could serve as an initial foundation prior to the development of an ODE-based model. Boolean network models have been shown to efficiently describe, in a qualitative manner, the complex behavior of signal transduction and gene/protein regulatory processes. In addition to providing a starting point prior to quantitative modeling, Boolean network models can also be utilized to discover novel therapeutic targets and combinatorial treatment strategies. Identifying drug targets using a network-based approach could supplement current drug discovery methodologies and help to fill the innovation gap across the pharmaceutical industry. In this review, we discuss the process of developing Boolean network models and the various analyses that can be performed to identify novel drug targets and combinatorial approaches. An example for each of these analyses is provided using a previously developed Boolean network of signaling pathways in multiple myeloma. Selected examples of Boolean network models of human (patho-)physiological systems are also reviewed in brief.
Project description:Systems virology integrates host-directed approaches with molecular profiling to understand viral pathogenesis. Self-contained statistical approaches that combine expression profiles of genes with the available databases defining the genes involved in the pathways (gene-sets) have allowed characterization of predictive gene-signatures associated with outcome of the influenza virus (IV) infection. However, such enrichment techniques do not take into account interactions among pathways that are responsible for the IV infection pathogenesis. We investigate dendritic cell response to seasonal H1N1 influenza A/New Caledonia/20/1999 (NC) infection and infer the Boolean logic rules underlying the interaction network of ligand induced signaling pathways and transcription factors. The model reveals several novel regulatory modes and provides insights into mechanism of cross talk between NF?B and IRF mediated signaling. Additionally, the logic rule underlying the regulation of IL2 pathway that was predicted by the Boolean model was experimentally validated. Thus, the model developed in this paper integrates pathway analysis tools with the dynamic modeling approaches to reveal the regulation between signaling pathways and transcription factors using genome-wide transcriptional profiles measured upon influenza infection.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Elucidating the architecture and dynamics of large scale genetic regulatory networks of cells is an important goal in systems biology. We study the system level dynamical properties of the genetic network of Escherichia coli that regulates its metabolism, and show how its design leads to biologically useful cellular properties. Our study uses the database (Covert et al., Nature 2004) containing 583 genes and 96 external metabolites which describes not only the network connections but also the Boolean rule at each gene node that controls the switching on or off of the gene as a function of its inputs. RESULTS: We have studied how the attractors of the Boolean dynamical system constructed from this database depend on the initial condition of the genes and on various environmental conditions corresponding to buffered minimal media. We find that the system exhibits homeostasis in that its attractors, that turn out to be fixed points or low period cycles, are highly insensitive to initial conditions or perturbations of gene configurations for any given fixed environment. At the same time the attractors show a wide variation when external media are varied implying that the system mounts a highly flexible response to changed environmental conditions. The regulatory dynamics acts to enhance the cellular growth rate under changed media. CONCLUSION: Our study shows that the reconstructed genetic network regulating metabolism in E. coli is hierarchical, modular, and largely acyclic, with environmental variables controlling the root of the hierarchy. This architecture makes the cell highly robust to perturbations of gene configurations as well as highly responsive to environmental changes. The twin properties of homeostasis and response flexibility are achieved by this dynamical system even though it is not close to the edge of chaos.
Project description:Neuronal stress or injury results in the activation of proteins, which regulate the balance between survival and apoptosis. However, the complex mechanism of cell signaling involving cell death and survival, activated in response to cellular stress is not yet completely understood. To bring more clarity about these mechanisms, a Boolean network was constructed that represented the apoptotic pathway in neuronal cells. FasL and neurotrophic growth factor (NGF) were considered as inputs in the absence and presence of heat shock proteins known to shift the balance toward survival by rescuing pro-apoptotic cells. The probabilities of survival, DNA repair and apoptosis as cellular fates, in the presence of either the growth factor or FasL, revealed a survival bias encoded in the network. Boolean predictions tested by measuring the mRNA level of caspase-3, caspase-8, and BAX in neuronal Neuro2a (N2a) cell line with NGF and FasL as external input, showed positive correlation with the observed experimental results for survival and apoptotic states. It was observed that HSP70 contributed more toward rescuing cells from apoptosis in comparison to HSP27, HSP40, and HSP90. Overexpression of HSP70 in N2a transfected cells showed reversal of cellular fate from FasL-induced apoptosis to survival. Further, the pro-survival role of the proteins BCL2, IAP, cFLIP, and NF?B determined by vertex perturbation analysis was experimentally validated through protein inhibition experiments using EM20-25, Embelin and Wedelolactone, which resulted in 1.27-, 1.26-, and 1.46-fold increase in apoptosis of N2a cells. The existence of a one-to-one correspondence between cellular fates and attractor states shows that Boolean networks may be employed with confidence in qualitative analytical studies of biological networks.
Project description:This article considers the problem whereby, given two metabolic networks N1 and N2, a set of source compounds, and a set of target compounds, we must find the minimum set of reactions whose removal (knockout) ensures that the target compounds are not producible in N1 but are producible in N2. Similar studies exist for the problem of finding the minimum knockout with the smallest side effect for a single network. However, if technologies of external perturbations are advanced in the near future, it may be important to develop methods of computing the minimum knockout for multiple networks (MKMN). Flux balance analysis (FBA) is efficient if a well-polished model is available. However, that is not always the case. Therefore, in this article, we study MKMN in Boolean models and an elementary mode (EM)-based model. Integer linear programming (ILP)-based methods are developed for these models, since MKMN is NP-complete for both the Boolean model and the EM-based model. Computer experiments are conducted with metabolic networks of clostridium perfringens SM101 and bifidobacterium longum DJO10A, respectively known as bad bacteria and good bacteria for the human intestine. The results show that larger networks are more likely to have MKMN solutions. However, solving for these larger networks takes a very long time, and often the computation cannot be completed. This is reasonable, because small networks do not have many alternative pathways, making it difficult to satisfy the MKMN condition, whereas in large networks the number of candidate solutions explodes. Our developed software minFvskO is available online.
Project description:MOTIVATION:Molecular interaction maps have emerged as a meaningful way of representing biological mechanisms in a comprehensive and systematic manner. However, their static nature provides limited insights to the emerging behaviour of the described biological system under different conditions. Computational modelling provides the means to study dynamic properties through in silico simulations and perturbations. We aim to bridge the gap between static and dynamic representations of biological systems with CaSQ, a software tool that infers Boolean rules based on the topology and semantics of molecular interaction maps built with CellDesigner. RESULTS:We developed CaSQ by defining conversion rules and logical formulas for inferred Boolean models according to the topology and the annotations of the starting molecular interaction maps. We used CaSQ to produce executable files of existing molecular maps that differ in size, complexity and the use of Systems Biology Graphical Notation (SBGN) standards. We also compared, where possible, the manually built logical models corresponding to a molecular map to the ones inferred by CaSQ. The tool is able to process large and complex maps built with CellDesigner (either following SBGN standards or not) and produce Boolean models in a standard output format, Systems Biology Marked Up Language-qualitative (SBML-qual), that can be further analyzed using popular modelling tools. References, annotations and layout of the CellDesigner molecular map are retained in the obtained model, facilitating interoperability and model reusability. AVAILABILITY AND IMPLEMENTATION:The present tool is available online: https://lifeware.inria.fr/?soliman/post/casq/ and distributed as a Python package under the GNU GPLv3 license. The code can be accessed here: https://gitlab.inria.fr/soliman/casq. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Project description:Understanding the structure and interplay of cellular signalling pathways is one of the great challenges in molecular biology. Boolean Networks can infer signalling networks from observations of protein activation. In situations where it is difficult to assess protein activation directly, Nested Effect Models are an alternative. They derive the network structure indirectly from downstream effects of pathway perturbations. To date, Nested Effect Models cannot resolve signalling details like the formation of signalling complexes or the activation of proteins by multiple alternative input signals. Here we introduce Boolean Nested Effect Models (B-NEM). B-NEMs combine the use of downstream effects with the higher resolution of signalling pathway structures in Boolean Networks.We show that B-NEMs accurately reconstruct signal flows in simulated data. Using B-NEM we then resolve BCR signalling via PI3K and TAK1 kinases in BL2 lymphoma cell lines.R code is available at https://github.com/MartinFXP/B-NEM (github). The BCR signalling dataset is available at the GEO database (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/geo/) through accession number GSE68761.email@example.com, Rainer.Spang@ukr.deSupplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Project description:Understanding the structure and interplay of cellular signalling pathways is one of the great challenges in molecular biology. Boolean Networks can infer signalling networks from observations of protein activation. In situations where it is difficult to assess protein activation directly, Nested Effect Models are an alternative. They derive the network structure indirectly from downstream effects of pathway perturbations. To date, Nested Effect Models cannot resolve signalling details like the formation of signalling complexes or the activation of proteins by multiple alternative input signals. Here we introduce Boolean Nested Effect Models (B-NEM). B-NEMs combine the use of downstream effects with the higher resolution of signalling pathway structures in Boolean Networks. We show that B-NEMs accurately reconstruct signal flows in simulated data. Using B-NEM we then resolve BCR signalling via PI3K and TAK1 kinases in BL2 lymphoma cell lines. 84 BL2 cell-line samples were hybridized to HGU133+2 Affymetrix GeneChips.
Project description:BACKGROUND: With increasing knowledge about the potential mechanisms underlying cellular functions, it is becoming feasible to predict the response of biological systems to genetic and environmental perturbations. Due to the lack of homogeneity in living tissues it is difficult to estimate the physiological effect of chemicals, including potential toxicity. Here we investigate a biologically motivated model for estimating tissue level responses by aggregating the behavior of a cell population. We assume that the molecular state of individual cells is independently governed by discrete non-deterministic signaling mechanisms. This results in noisy but highly reproducible aggregate level responses that are consistent with experimental data. RESULTS: We developed an asynchronous threshold Boolean network simulation algorithm to model signal transduction in a single cell, and then used an ensemble of these models to estimate the aggregate response across a cell population. Using published data, we derived a putative crosstalk network involving growth factors and cytokines - i.e., Epidermal Growth Factor, Insulin, Insulin like Growth Factor Type 1, and Tumor Necrosis Factor ? - to describe early signaling events in cell proliferation signal transduction. Reproducibility of the modeling technique across ensembles of Boolean networks representing cell populations is investigated. Furthermore, we compare our simulation results to experimental observations of hepatocytes reported in the literature. CONCLUSION: A systematic analysis of the results following differential stimulation of this model by growth factors and cytokines suggests that: (a) using Boolean network ensembles with asynchronous updating provides biologically plausible noisy individual cellular responses with reproducible mean behavior for large cell populations, and (b) with sufficient data our model can estimate the response to different concentrations of extracellular ligands. Our results suggest that this approach is both quantitative, allowing statistical verification and calibration, and extensible, allowing modification and revision as guided by experimental evidence. The simulation methodology is part of the US EPA Virtual Liver, which is investigating the effects of everyday contaminants on living tissues. Future models will incorporate additional crosstalk surrounding proliferation as well as the putative effects of xenobiotics on these signaling cascades within hepatocytes.