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Publications of Eduardo D. Sontag jointly with M.A. Al-Radhawi
Articles in journal or book chapters
  1. M.A. Al-Radhawi, D. Angeli, and E.D. Sontag. A computational framework for a Lyapunov-enabled analysis of biochemical reaction networks. 2019. Note: Submitted. Preprint here: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/696716v1. Keyword(s): Lyapunov functions, stability, chemical networks, chemixal rection networks, systems biology.
    Abstract:
    This paper deals with the analysis of the dynamics of chemical reaction networks, developing a theoretical framework based only on graphical knowledge and applying regardless of the particular form of kinetics. It paper introduces a class of networks that are "structurally (mono) attractive", by which we mean that they are incapable of exhibiting multiple steady states, oscillation, or chaos by the virtue of their reaction graphs. These networks are characterized by the existence of a universal energy-like function which we call a Robust Lyapunov function (RLF). To find such functions, a finite set of rank-one linear systems is introduced, which form the extremals of a linear convex cone. The problem is then reduced to that of finding a common Lyapunov function for this set of extremals. Based on this characterization, a computational package, Lyapunov-Enabled Analysis of Reaction Networks (LEARN), is provided that constructs such functions or rules out their existence. An extensive study of biochemical networks demonstrates that LEARN offers a new unified framework. We study basic motifs, three-body binding, and transcriptional networks. We focus on cellular signalling networks including various post-translational modification cascades, phosphotransfer and phosphorelay networks, T-cell kinetic proofreading, ERK signaling, and the Ribosome Flow Model.


  2. M. A. Al-Radhawi, D. Del Vecchio, and E. D. Sontag. Multi-modality in gene regulatory networks with slow gene binding. PLoS Computational Biology, 15:e1006784, 2019. [PDF] Keyword(s): multistability, gene networks, Markov Chains, Master Equation, cancer heterogeneity, phenotypic variation, nonlinear systems, stochastic models, epigenetics, chemical master equations.
    Abstract:
    In biological processes such as embryonic development, hematopoietic cell differentiation, and the arising of tumor heterogeneity and consequent resistance to therapy, mechanisms of gene activation and deactivation may play a role in the emergence of phenotypically heterogeneous yet genetically identical (clonal) cellular populations. Mathematically, the variability in phenotypes in the absence of genetic variation can be modeled through the existence of multiple metastable attractors in nonlinear systems subject with stochastic switching, each one of them associated to an alternative epigenetic state. An important theoretical and practical question is that of estimating the number and location of these states, as well as their relative probabilities of occurrence. This paper focuses on a rigorous analytic characterization of multiple modes under slow promoter kinetics, which is a feature of epigenetic regulation. It characterizes the stationary distributions of Chemical Master Equations for gene regulatory networks as a mixture of Poisson distributions. As illustrations, the theory is used to tease out the role of cooperative binding in stochastic models in comparison to deterministic models, and applications are given to various model systems, such as toggle switches in isolation or in communicating populations and a trans-differentiation network.


  3. M. Sadeghi, M.A. Al-Radhawi, M. Margaliot, and E.D. Sontag. No switching policy is optimal for a positive linear system with a bottleneck entrance. IEEE Control Systems Letters, 3:889-894, 2019. Note: (Also in Proc. 2019 IEEE Conf. Decision and Control.). [PDF] Keyword(s): entrainment, switched systems, ribosome flow model, traffic systems, nonlinear systems, nonlinear control.
    Abstract:
    We consider a nonlinear SISO system that is a cascade of a scalar "bottleneck entrance" with a stable positive linear system. In response to any periodic inflow, all solutions converge to a unique periodic solution with the same period. We study the problem of maximizing the averaged throughput via controlled switching. We compare two strategies: 1) switching between a high and low value, and 2 ~using a constant inflow equal to the prescribed mean value. We show that no possible switching policy can outperform a constant inflow rate, though it can approach it asymptotically. We describe several potential applications of this problem in traffic systems, ribosome flow models, and scheduling at security checks.


Conference articles
  1. D. K. Agrawal, R. Marshall, M. Ali Al-Radhawi, V. Noireaux, and E. D. Sontag. Some remarks on robust gene regulation in a biomolecular integral controller. In Proc. 2019 IEEE Conf. Decision and Control, 2019. Note: To appear.Keyword(s): tracking, synthetic biology, integral feedback, TX/TL, systems biology, dynamical systems, adaptation, internal model principle.
    Abstract:
    Integral feedback can help achieve robust tracking independently of external disturbances. Motivated by this knowledge, biological engineers have proposed various designs of biomolecular integral feedback controllers to regulate biological processes. In this paper, we theoretically analyze the operation of a particular synthetic biomolecular integral controller, which we have recently proposed and implemented experimentally. Using a combination of methods, ranging from linearized analysis to sum-of-squares (SOS) Lyapunov functions, we demonstrate that, when the controller is operated in closed-loop, it is capable of providing integral corrections to the concentration of an output species in such a manner that the output tracks a reference signal linearly over a large dynamic range. We investigate the output dependency on the reaction parameters through sensitivity analysis, and quantify performance using control theory metrics to characterize response properties, thus providing clear selection guidelines for practical applications. We then demonstrate the stable operation of the closed-loop control system by constructing quartic Lyapunov functions using SOS optimization techniques, and establish global stability for a unique equilibrium. Our analysis suggests that by incorporating effective molecular sequestration, a biomolecular closed-loop integral controller that is capable of robustly regulating gene expression is feasible.


  2. S. Bruno, M.A. Al-Radhawi, E.D. Sontag, and D. Del Vecchio. Stochastic analysis of genetic feedback controllers to reprogram a pluripotency gene regulatory network. In Proc. 2019 Automatic Control Conference, 2019. Note: To appear.[PDF] Keyword(s): multistability, biochemical networks, systems biology, stochastic systems, cell differentiation, multistationarity, chemical master equations.
    Abstract:
    Cellular reprogramming is traditionally accomplished through an open loop control approach, wherein key transcription factors are injected in cells to steer a gene regulatory network toward a pluripotent state. Recently, a closed loop feedback control strategy was proposed in order to achieve more accurate control. Previous analyses of the controller were based on deterministic models, ignoring the substantial stochasticity in these networks, Here we analyze the Chemical Master Equation for reaction models with and without the feedback controller. We computationally and analytically investigate the performance of the controller in biologically relevant parameter regimes where stochastic effects dictate system dynamics. Our results indicate that the feedback control approach still ensures reprogramming even when analyzed using a stochastic model.


  3. M.A. Al-Radhawi, N.S. Kumar, E.D. Sontag, and D. Del Vecchio. Stochastic multistationarity in a model of the hematopoietic stem cell differentiation network. In Proc. 2018 IEEE Conf. Decision and Control, pages 1886-1892, 2018. [PDF] Keyword(s): multistability, biochemical networks, systems biology, stochastic systems, cell differentiation, multistationarity, chemical master equations.
    Abstract:
    In the mathematical modeling of cell differentiation, it is common to think of internal states of cells (quanfitied by activation levels of certain genes) as determining different cell types. We study here the "PU.1/GATA-1 circuit" that controls the development of mature blood cells from hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). We introduce a rigorous chemical reaction network model of the PU.1/GATA-1 circuit, which incorporates current biological knowledge and find that the resulting ODE model of these biomolecular reactions is incapable of exhibiting multistability, contradicting the fact that differentiation networks have, by definition, alternative stable steady states. When considering instead the stochastic version of this chemical network, we analytically construct the stationary distribution, and are able to show that this distribution is indeed capable of admitting a multiplicity of modes. Finally, we study how a judicious choice of system parameters serves to bias the probabilities towards different stationary states. We remark that certain changes in system parameters can be physically implemented by a biological feedback mechanism; tuning this feedback gives extra degrees of freedom that allow one to assign higher likelihood to some cell types over others.


Internal reports
  1. M. Sadeghi, M.A. Al-Radhawi, M. Margaliot, and E.D. Sontag. On the periodic gain of the Ribosome Flow Model. Technical report, bioRxiv 2018/507988, 2018. [PDF] Keyword(s): systems biology, biochemical networks, ribosomes, RFM.
    Abstract:
    We consider a compartmental model for ribosome flow during RNA translation, the Ribosome Flow Model (RFM). This model includes a set of positive transition rates that control the flow from every site to the consecutive site. It has been shown that when these rates are time-varying and jointly T-periodic, the protein production rate converges to a unique T-periodic pattern. Here, we study a problem that can be roughly stated as: can periodic rates yield a higher average production rate than constant rates? We rigorously formulate this question and show via simulations, and rigorous analysis in one simple case, that the answer is no.



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Last modified: Wed Aug 7 15:28:02 2019
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