ABSTRACT: Biological systems are dynamic and display heterogeneity at all levels. Ubiquitous heterogeneity, here called for poikilosis, is an integral and important property of organisms and in molecules, systems and processes within them. Traditionally, heterogeneity in biology and experiments has been considered as unwanted noise, here poikilosis is shown to be the normal state. Acceptable variation ranges are called as lagom. Non-lagom, variations that are too extensive, have negative effects, which influence interconnected levels and once the variation is large enough cause a disease and can lead even to death. Poikilosis has numerous applications and consequences e.g. for how to design, analyze and report experiments, how to develop and apply prediction and modelling methods, and in diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Poikilosis-aware new and practical definitions are provided for life, death, senescence, disease, and lagom. Poikilosis is the first new unifying theory in biology since evolution and should be considered in every scientific study.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Research in the field of systems biology requires software for a variety of purposes. Software must be used to store, retrieve, analyze, and sometimes even to collect the data obtained from system-level (often high-throughput) experiments. Software must also be used to implement mathematical models and algorithms required for simulation and theoretical predictions on the system-level.<h4>Results</h4>We introduce a free, easy-to-use, open-source, integrated software platform called the Systems Biology Research Tool (SBRT) to facilitate the computational aspects of systems biology. The SBRT currently performs 35 methods for analyzing stoichiometric networks and 16 methods from fields such as graph theory, geometry, algebra, and combinatorics. New computational techniques can be added to the SBRT via process plug-ins, providing a high degree of evolvability and a unifying framework for software development in systems biology.<h4>Conclusion</h4>The Systems Biology Research Tool represents a technological advance for systems biology. This software can be used to make sophisticated computational techniques accessible to everyone (including those with no programming ability), to facilitate cooperation among researchers, and to expedite progress in the field of systems biology.
Project description:Evolutionary systems biology aims to uncover the general trends and principles governing the evolution of biological networks. An essential part of this process is the reconstruction and analysis of the evolutionary histories of these complex, dynamic networks. Unfortunately, the methodologies for representing and exploiting such complex evolutionary histories in large scale studies are currently limited. Here, we propose a new formalism, called EvoluCode (Evolutionary barCode), which allows the integration of different evolutionary parameters (eg, sequence conservation, orthology, synteny …) in a unifying format and facilitates the multilevel analysis and visualization of complex evolutionary histories at the genome scale. The advantages of the approach are demonstrated by constructing barcodes representing the evolution of the complete human proteome. Two large-scale studies are then described: (i) the mapping and visualization of the barcodes on the human chromosomes and (ii) automatic clustering of the barcodes to highlight protein subsets sharing similar evolutionary histories and their functional analysis. The methodologies developed here open the way to the efficient application of other data mining and knowledge extraction techniques in evolutionary systems biology studies. A database containing all EvoluCode data is available at: http://lbgi.igbmc.fr/barcodes.
Project description:Embryogenesis is remarkably robust to segregating mutations and environmental variation; under a range of conditions, embryos of a given species develop into stereotypically patterned organisms. Such robustness is thought to be conferred, in part, through elements within regulatory networks that perform similar, redundant tasks. Redundant enhancers (or "shadow" enhancers), for example, can confer precision and robustness to gene expression, at least at individual, well-studied loci. However, the extent to which enhancer redundancy exists and can thereby have a major impact on developmental robustness remains unknown. Here, we systematically assessed this, identifying over 1,000 predicted shadow enhancers during Drosophila mesoderm development. The activity of 23 elements, associated with five genes, was examined in transgenic embryos, while natural structural variation among individuals was used to assess their ability to buffer against genetic variation. Our results reveal three clear properties of enhancer redundancy within developmental systems. First, it is much more pervasive than previously anticipated, with 64% of loci examined having shadow enhancers. Their spatial redundancy is often partial in nature, while the non-overlapping function may explain why these enhancers are maintained within a population. Second, over 70% of loci do not follow the simple situation of having only two shadow enhancers-often there are three (rols), four (CadN and ade5), or five (Traf1), at least one of which can be deleted with no obvious phenotypic effects. Third, although shadow enhancers can buffer variation, patterns of segregating variation suggest that they play a more complex role in development than generally considered.
Project description:Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are membrane-enclosed structures secreted by cells. In the past decade, EVs have attracted substantial attention as carriers of complex intercellular information. They have been implicated in a wide variety of biological processes in health and disease. They are also considered to hold promise for future diagnostics and therapy. EVs are characterized by a previously underappreciated heterogeneity. The heterogeneity and molecular complexity of EVs necessitates high-throughput analytical platforms for detailed analysis. Recently, mass spectrometry, next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics tools have enabled detailed proteomic, transcriptomic, glycomic, lipidomic, metabolomic, and genomic analyses of EVs. Here, we provide an overview of systems biology experiments performed in the field of EVs. Furthermore, we provide examples of how in silico systems biology approaches can be used to identify correlations between genes involved in EV biogenesis and human diseases. Using a knowledge fusion system, we investigated whether certain groups of proteins implicated in the biogenesis/release of EVs were associated with diseases and phenotypes. Furthermore, we investigated whether these proteins were enriched in publicly available transcriptomic datasets using gene set enrichment analysis methods. We found associations between key EV biogenesis proteins and numerous diseases, which further emphasizes the key role of EVs in human health and disease.
Project description:Systems biology and omics has provided a comprehensive understanding about the dynamics of the genome, metabolome, transcriptome, and proteome under stress. In wheat, abiotic stresses trigger specific networks of pathways involved in redox and ionic homeostasis as well as osmotic balance. These networks are considerably more complicated than those in model plants, and therefore, counter models are proposed by unifying the approaches of omics and stress systems biology. Furthermore, crosstalk among these pathways is monitored by the regulation and streaming of transcripts and genes. In this review, we discuss systems biology and omics as a promising tool to study responses to oxidative, salinity, and drought stress in wheat.
Project description:Cells can globally upregulate their transcriptome during specific transitions, a phenomenon called hypertranscription. Evidence for hypertranscription dates back over 70 years but has gone largely ignored in the genomics era until recently. We discuss data supporting the notion that hypertranscription is a unifying theme in embryonic development, stem cell biology, regeneration, and cell competition. We review the history, methods for analysis, underlying mechanisms, and biological significance of hypertranscription.
Project description:Systems biology approaches have been applied over the last two decades to study plant sulphur metabolism. These 'sulphur-omics' approaches have been developed in parallel with the advancing field of systems biology, which is characterized by permanent improvements of high-throughput methods to obtain system-wide data. The aim is to obtain a holistic view of sulphur metabolism and to generate models that allow predictions of metabolic and physiological responses. Besides known sulphur-responsive genes derived from previous studies, numerous genes have been identified in transcriptomics studies. This has not only increased our knowledge of sulphur metabolism but has also revealed links between metabolic processes, thus indicating a previously unexpected complex interconnectivity. The identification of response and control networks has been supported through metabolomics and proteomics studies. Due to the complex interlacing nature of biological processes, experimental validation using targeted or systems approaches is ongoing. There is still room for improvement in integrating the findings from studies of metabolomes, proteomes, and metabolic fluxes into a single unifying concept and to generate consistent models. We therefore suggest a joint effort of the sulphur research community to standardize data acquisition. Furthermore, focusing on a few different model plant systems would help overcome the problem of fragmented data, and would allow us to provide a standard data set against which future experiments can be designed and compared.
Project description:Human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) lines have been considered to be homogeneously euploid. Here we report that normal hPSC--including induced pluripotent--lines are karyotypic mosaics of euploid cells intermixed with many cells showing non-clonal aneuploidies as identified by chromosome counting, spectral karyotyping (SKY) and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) of interphase/non-mitotic cells. This mosaic aneuploidy resembles that observed in progenitor cells of the developing brain and preimplantation embryos, suggesting that it is a normal, rather than pathological, feature of stem cell lines. The karyotypic heterogeneity generated by mosaic aneuploidy may contribute to the reported functional and phenotypic heterogeneity of hPSCs lines, as well as their therapeutic efficacy and safety following transplantation.
Project description:Despite its deceptive simplicity, few concepts have more fundamental implications than chirality, from the therapeutic activity of drugs to the fundamental forces of nature. In magnetic materials, chirality gives rise to unconventional phenomena such as the anomalous Hall effect and multiferroicity, taking an enhanced flavour in the so-called spin-liquid phases where magnetic disorder prevails. Kagome systems sit at the crossroad of these ideas. Motivated by the recent synthesis of rare-earth kagome materials and the progresses in optical-lattice experiments, we bring together an entire network of spin liquids with anisotropic and Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interactions. This network revolves around the Ising antiferromagnet and ends on (ferromagnetic) chiral spin liquids with spontaneously broken time-reversal symmetry. As for the celebrated Heisenberg antiferromagnet, it now belongs to a triad of equivalently disordered phases. The present work provides a unifying theory of kagome spin liquids with time-reversal invariant nearest-neighbour Hamiltonians.
Project description:Pervasive, or genome-wide, transcription has been reported in all domains of life. In bacteria, most pervasive transcription occurs antisense to protein-coding transcripts, although recently a new class of pervasive RNAs was identified that originates from within annotated genes. Initially considered to be non-functional transcriptional noise, pervasive transcription is increasingly being recognized as important in regulating gene expression. The function of pervasive transcription is an extensively debated question in the field of transcriptomics and regulatory RNA biology. Here, we highlight the most recent contributions addressing the purpose of pervasive transcription in bacteria and discuss their implications.