A hybrid stochastic model of the budding yeast cell cycle.
ABSTRACT: The growth and division of eukaryotic cells are regulated by complex, multi-scale networks. In this process, the mechanism of controlling cell-cycle progression has to be robust against inherent noise in the system. In this paper, a hybrid stochastic model is developed to study the effects of noise on the control mechanism of the budding yeast cell cycle. The modeling approach leverages, in a single multi-scale model, the advantages of two regimes: (1) the computational efficiency of a deterministic approach, and (2) the accuracy of stochastic simulations. Our results show that this hybrid stochastic model achieves high computational efficiency while generating simulation results that match very well with published experimental measurements.
Project description:The eukaryotic cell cycle is regulated by a complicated chemical reaction network. Although many deterministic models have been proposed, stochastic models are desired to capture noise in the cell resulting from low numbers of critical species. However, converting a deterministic model into one that accurately captures stochastic effects can result in a complex model that is hard to build and expensive to simulate. In this paper, we first apply a hybrid (mixed deterministic and stochastic) simulation method to such a stochastic model. With proper partitioning of reactions between deterministic and stochastic simulation methods, the hybrid method generates the same primary characteristics and the same level of noise as Gillespie's stochastic simulation algorithm, but with better efficiency. By studying the results generated by various partitionings of reactions, we developed a new strategy for hybrid stochastic modeling of the cell cycle. The new approach is not limited to using mass-action rate laws. Numerical experiments demonstrate that our approach is consistent with characteristics of noisy cell cycle progression, and yields cell cycle statistics in accord with experimental observations.
Project description:The development of hybrid methodologies is of current interest in both multi-scale modelling and stochastic reaction-diffusion systems regarding their applications to biology. We formulate a hybrid method for stochastic multi-scale models of cells populations that extends the remit of existing hybrid methods for reaction-diffusion systems. Such method is developed for a stochastic multi-scale model of tumour growth, i.e. population-dynamical models which account for the effects of intrinsic noise affecting both the number of cells and the intracellular dynamics. In order to formulate this method, we develop a coarse-grained approximation for both the full stochastic model and its mean-field limit. Such approximation involves averaging out the age-structure (which accounts for the multi-scale nature of the model) by assuming that the age distribution of the population settles onto equilibrium very fast. We then couple the coarse-grained mean-field model to the full stochastic multi-scale model. By doing so, within the mean-field region, we are neglecting noise in both cell numbers (population) and their birth rates (structure). This implies that, in addition to the issues that arise in stochastic-reaction diffusion systems, we need to account for the age-structure of the population when attempting to couple both descriptions. We exploit our coarse-graining model so that, within the mean-field region, the age-distribution is in equilibrium and we know its explicit form. This allows us to couple both domains consistently, as upon transference of cells from the mean-field to the stochastic region, we sample the equilibrium age distribution. Furthermore, our method allows us to investigate the effects of intracellular noise, i.e. fluctuations of the birth rate, on collective properties such as travelling wave velocity. We show that the combination of population and birth-rate noise gives rise to large fluctuations of the birth rate in the region at the leading edge of front, which cannot be accounted for by the coarse-grained model. Such fluctuations have non-trivial effects on the wave velocity. Beyond the development of a new hybrid method, we thus conclude that birth-rate fluctuations are central to a quantitatively accurate description of invasive phenomena such as tumour growth.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Stochastic simulation of gene networks by Markov processes has important applications in molecular biology. The complexity of exact simulation algorithms scales with the number of discrete jumps to be performed. Approximate schemes reduce the computational time by reducing the number of simulated discrete events. Also, answering important questions about the relation between network topology and intrinsic noise generation and propagation should be based on general mathematical results. These general results are difficult to obtain for exact models. RESULTS: We propose a unified framework for hybrid simplifications of Markov models of multiscale stochastic gene networks dynamics. We discuss several possible hybrid simplifications, and provide algorithms to obtain them from pure jump processes. In hybrid simplifications, some components are discrete and evolve by jumps, while other components are continuous. Hybrid simplifications are obtained by partial Kramers-Moyal expansion [1-3] which is equivalent to the application of the central limit theorem to a sub-model. By averaging and variable aggregation we drastically reduce simulation time and eliminate non-critical reactions. Hybrid and averaged simplifications can be used for more effective simulation algorithms and for obtaining general design principles relating noise to topology and time scales. The simplified models reproduce with good accuracy the stochastic properties of the gene networks, including waiting times in intermittence phenomena, fluctuation amplitudes and stationary distributions. The methods are illustrated on several gene network examples. CONCLUSION: Hybrid simplifications can be used for onion-like (multi-layered) approaches to multi-scale biochemical systems, in which various descriptions are used at various scales. Sets of discrete and continuous variables are treated with different methods and are coupled together in a physically justified approach.
Project description:The eukaryotic cell cycle is regulated by a complicated chemical reaction network. Although many deterministic models have been proposed, stochastic models are desired to capture noise in the cell resulting from low numbers of critical species. However, converting a deterministic model into one that accurately captures stochastic effects can result in a complex model that is hard to build and expensive to simulate. In this paper, we first apply a hybrid (mixed deterministic and stochastic) simulation method to such a stochastic model. With proper partitioning of reactions between deterministic and stochastic simulation methods, the hybrid method generates the same primary characteristics and the same level of noise as Gillespie's stochastic simulation algorithm, but with better efficiency. By studying the results generated by various partitionings of reactions, we developed a new strategy for hybrid stochastic modeling of the cell cycle. The new approach is not limited to using mass-action rate laws. Numerical experiments demonstrate that our approach is consistent with characteristics of noisy cell cycle progression, and yields cell cycle statistics in accord with experimental observations
Project description:Spatial reaction-diffusion models have been employed to describe many emergent phenomena in biological systems. The modelling technique most commonly adopted in the literature implements systems of partial differential equations (PDEs), which assumes there are sufficient densities of particles that a continuum approximation is valid. However, owing to recent advances in computational power, the simulation and therefore postulation, of computationally intensive individual-based models has become a popular way to investigate the effects of noise in reaction-diffusion systems in which regions of low copy numbers exist. The specific stochastic models with which we shall be concerned in this manuscript are referred to as 'compartment-based' or 'on-lattice'. These models are characterized by a discretization of the computational domain into a grid/lattice of 'compartments'. Within each compartment, particles are assumed to be well mixed and are permitted to react with other particles within their compartment or to transfer between neighbouring compartments. Stochastic models provide accuracy, but at the cost of significant computational resources. For models that have regions of both low and high concentrations, it is often desirable, for reasons of efficiency, to employ coupled multi-scale modelling paradigms. In this work, we develop two hybrid algorithms in which a PDE in one region of the domain is coupled to a compartment-based model in the other. Rather than attempting to balance average fluxes, our algorithms answer a more fundamental question: 'how are individual particles transported between the vastly different model descriptions?' First, we present an algorithm derived by carefully redefining the continuous PDE concentration as a probability distribution. While this first algorithm shows very strong convergence to analytical solutions of test problems, it can be cumbersome to simulate. Our second algorithm is a simplified and more efficient implementation of the first, it is derived in the continuum limit over the PDE region alone. We test our hybrid methods for functionality and accuracy in a variety of different scenarios by comparing the averaged simulations with analytical solutions of PDEs for mean concentrations.
Project description:We review recent work on the theory and applications of stochastic hybrid systems in cellular neuroscience. A stochastic hybrid system or piecewise deterministic Markov process involves the coupling between a piecewise deterministic differential equation and a time-homogeneous Markov chain on some discrete space. The latter typically represents some random switching process. We begin by summarizing the basic theory of stochastic hybrid systems, including various approximation schemes in the fast switching (weak noise) limit. In subsequent sections, we consider various applications of stochastic hybrid systems, including stochastic ion channels and membrane voltage fluctuations, stochastic gap junctions and diffusion in randomly switching environments, and intracellular transport in axons and dendrites. Finally, we describe recent work on phase reduction methods for stochastic hybrid limit cycle oscillators.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Hybrid simulation of (computational) biochemical reaction networks, which combines stochastic and deterministic dynamics, is an important direction to tackle future challenges due to complex and multi-scale models. Inherently hybrid computational models of biochemical networks entail two time scales: fast and slow. Therefore, it is intricate to efficiently and accurately analyse them using only either deterministic or stochastic simulation. However, there are only a few software tools that support such an approach. These tools are often limited with respect to the number as well as the functionalities of the provided hybrid simulation algorithms.<h4>Results</h4>We present Snoopy's hybrid simulator, an efficient hybrid simulation software which builds on Snoopy, a tool to construct and simulate Petri nets. Snoopy's hybrid simulator provides a wide range of state-of-the-art hybrid simulation algorithms. Using this tool, a computational model of biochemical networks can be constructed using a (coloured) hybrid Petri net's graphical notations, or imported from other compatible formats (e.g. SBML), and afterwards executed via dynamic or static hybrid simulation.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Snoopy's hybrid simulator is a platform-independent tool providing an accurate and efficient simulation of hybrid (biological) models. It can be downloaded free of charge as part of Snoopy from http://www-dssz.informatik.tu-cottbus.de/DSSZ/Software/Snoopy .
Project description:Although cell polarity is an essential feature of living cells, it is far from being well-understood. Using a combination of computational modeling and biological experiments we closely examine an important prototype of cell polarity: the pheromone-induced formation of the yeast polarisome. Focusing on the role of noise and spatial heterogeneity, we develop and investigate two mechanistic spatial models of polarisome formation, one deterministic and the other stochastic, and compare the contrasting predictions of these two models against experimental phenotypes of wild-type and mutant cells. We find that the stochastic model can more robustly reproduce two fundamental characteristics observed in wild-type cells: a highly polarized phenotype via a mechanism that we refer to as spatial stochastic amplification, and the ability of the polarisome to track a moving pheromone input. Moreover, we find that only the stochastic model can simultaneously reproduce these characteristics of the wild-type phenotype and the multi-polarisome phenotype of a deletion mutant of the scaffolding protein Spa2. Significantly, our analysis also demonstrates that higher levels of stochastic noise results in increased robustness of polarization to parameter variation. Furthermore, our work suggests a novel role for a polarisome protein in the stabilization of actin cables. These findings elucidate the intricate role of spatial stochastic effects in cell polarity, giving support to a cellular model where noise and spatial heterogeneity combine to achieve robust biological function.
Project description:Inside individual cells, expression of genes is inherently stochastic and manifests as cell-to-cell variability or noise in protein copy numbers. Since proteins half-lives can be comparable to the cell-cycle length, randomness in cell-division times generates additional intercellular variability in protein levels. Moreover, as many mRNA/protein species are expressed at low-copy numbers, errors incurred in partitioning of molecules between two daughter cells are significant. We derive analytical formulas for the total noise in protein levels when the cell-cycle duration follows a general class of probability distributions. Using a novel hybrid approach the total noise is decomposed into components arising from i) stochastic expression; ii) partitioning errors at the time of cell division and iii) random cell-division events. These formulas reveal that random cell-division times not only generate additional extrinsic noise, but also critically affect the mean protein copy numbers and intrinsic noise components. Counter intuitively, in some parameter regimes, noise in protein levels can decrease as cell-division times become more stochastic. Computations are extended to consider genome duplication, where transcription rate is increased at a random point in the cell cycle. We systematically investigate how the timing of genome duplication influences different protein noise components. Intriguingly, results show that noise contribution from stochastic expression is minimized at an optimal genome-duplication time. Our theoretical results motivate new experimental methods for decomposing protein noise levels from synchronized and asynchronized single-cell expression data. Characterizing the contributions of individual noise mechanisms will lead to precise estimates of gene expression parameters and techniques for altering stochasticity to change phenotype of individual cells.
Project description:Quantitatively understanding the robustness, adaptivity and efficiency of cell cycle dynamics under the influence of noise is a fundamental but difficult question to answer for most eukaryotic organisms. Using a simplified budding yeast cell cycle model perturbed by intrinsic noise, we systematically explore these issues from an energy landscape point of view by constructing an energy landscape for the considered system based on large deviation theory. Analysis shows that the cell cycle trajectory is sharply confined by the ambient energy barrier, and the landscape along this trajectory exhibits a generally flat shape. We explain the evolution of the system on this flat path by incorporating its non-gradient nature. Furthermore, we illustrate how this global landscape changes in response to external signals, observing a nice transformation of the landscapes as the excitable system approaches a limit cycle system when nutrients are sufficient, as well as the formation of additional energy wells when the DNA replication checkpoint is activated. By taking into account the finite volume effect, we find additional pits along the flat cycle path in the landscape associated with the checkpoint mechanism of the cell cycle. The difference between the landscapes induced by intrinsic and extrinsic noise is also discussed. In our opinion, this meticulous structure of the energy landscape for our simplified model is of general interest to other cell cycle dynamics, and the proposed methods can be applied to study similar biological systems.