Reconstruction And Analysis Of The Molecular Programs Involved In Deciding Mammalian Cell Fate
Cellular function hinges on the ability to process information from the outside environment into specific decisions. Ultimately these processes decide cell fate, whether it be to undergo proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation, migration and other cellular functions. These processes can be thought of as finely tuned programs evolved to maintain robust function in spite of environmental perturbations. Malfunctions in these programs can lead to improper cellular function and various disease states. To develop more effective, personalized and even preventative therapeutics we must attain a better, more detailed, understanding of the programs involved. To this end we have employed mechanistic mathematical modeling to a variety of complex cellular programs. In Chapter 1, we review a variety of computational methods have have been used successfully in different areas of biotechnology. In Chapter 2, we present the software platform UNIVERSAL, which was developed in our lab. UNIVERSAL is an extensible code generation framework for Mac OS X which produces editable, fully commented platform-independent physiochemical model code in several common programming languages from a variety of inputs. UNIVERSAL generates mass-action ODE models of intracellular signal transduction processes and model analysis code, such as adjoint sensitivity balances. We employed the mass-action ODE framework, as generated by UNIVERSAL, commonly throughout the studies presented here. In Chapter 3, we introduce a variety of modeling strategies in the context of EGF-induced Eukaryotic transcription. We demon- strated the ability to make meaningful and statistically consistent model predictions despite considerable parametric uncertainty. In Chapter 4, we constructed a mathematical model to study a mechanism for androgen independent proliferation in prostate cancer. Analysis of the model provided insight into the importance of network components as a function of androgen dependence. Translation became progressively more important in androgen independent cells. Moreover, the analysis suggested that direct targeting of the translational machinery, specifically eIF4E, could be efficacious in androgen independent prostate cancers. In Chapter 5, A mathematical model of RA-induced cell-cycle arrest and differentiation was formulated and tested against BLR1 wild-type (wt) knock-out and knock-in HL-60 cell lines with and without RA. The ensemble of HL-60 models recapitulated the positive feedback between BLR1 and MAPK signaling. We investigated the robustness of the HL-60 network architecture to structural perturbations and generated experimentally testable hypotheses for future study. In Chapter 6, we carried out experimental studies to reduce the structural uncertainty of the HL60 model. Result from the HL-60 model cRaf as the most critical component of the MAPK cascade. To investigate the role of cRaf in RA-induced differentiation we observed the effect of cRaf kinase inhibition. Furthermore, we interrogated a panel of proteins to identify RA responsive cRaf binding partner. We found that cRaf kinase activity was necessary for functional ROS response, but not for RA-induced growth arrest. Based on our findings, we proposed a simplified ontrol architecture for sustained MAPK activation. Computational modeling identified a bistability suggesting that the MAPK activation was self-sustaining. This result was experimentally validated, and could explain previously observed cellular memory effects. Taken together, the results of these studies demonstrated that computational modeling can identify therapeutically relevant targets for human disease such as cancer. Furthermore, we demonstrated the ability of an iterative strategy between computational and experimental analysis to provide insight on key regulator circuits for complex programs involved in deciding cell fate.
hl-60; Prostate Cancer; Kinetic Modeling; Computational Biology; Differentiation; Cancer; protein interaction network
Varner, Jeffrey D.
Clancy, Paulette; Yen, Andrew
Ph.D. of Chemical Engineering
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis