Publications of Eduardo D. Sontag jointly with M. Ali Al-Radhawi
Articles in journal or book chapters
  1. M. Ali Al-Radhawi, S. Tripathi, Y. Zhang, E.D. Sontag, and H. Levine. Epigenetic factor competition reshapes the EMT landscape. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 119:e2210844119, 2022. [WWW] [PDF] Keyword(s): gene networks, Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition, EMT, epigenetics, systems biology, cancer.
    The emergence of and transitions between distinct phenotypes in isogenic cells can be attributed to the intricate interplay of epigenetic marks, external signals, and gene regulatory elements. These elements include chromatin remodelers, histone modifiers, transcription factors, and regulatory RNAs. Mathematical models known as Gene Regulatory Networks (GRNs) are an increasingly important tool to unravel the workings of such complex networks. In such models, epigenetic factors are usually proposed to act on the chromatin regions directly involved in the expression of relevant genes. However, it has been well-established that these factors operate globally and compete with each other for targets genome-wide. Therefore, a perturbation of the activity of a regulator can redistribute epigenetic marks across the genome and modulate the levels of competing regulators. In this paper, we propose a conceptual and mathematical modeling framework that incorporates both local and global competition effects between antagonistic epigenetic regulators in addition to local transcription factors, and show the counter-intuitive consequences of such interactions. We apply our approach to recent experimental findings on the Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT). We show that it can explain the puzzling experimental data as well provide new verifiable predictions.

  2. M. Ali Al-Radhawi, M. Margaliot, and E. D. Sontag. Maximizing average throughput in oscillatory biochemical synthesis systems: an optimal control approach. Royal Society Open Science, 8(9):210878, 2021. [PDF]
    A dynamical system entrains to a periodic input if its state converges globally to an attractor with the same period. In particular, for a constant input, the state converges to a unique equilibrium point for any initial condition. We consider the problem of maximizing a weighted average of the system's output along the periodic attractor. The gain of entrainment is the benefit achieved by using a non-constant periodic input relative to a constant input with the same time average. Such a problem amounts to optimal allocation of resources in a periodic manner. We formulate this problem as a periodic optimal control problem, which can be analyzed by means of the Pontryagin maximum principle or solved numerically via powerful software packages. We then apply our framework to a class of nonlinear occupancy models that appear frequently in biological synthesis systems and other applications. We show that, perhaps surprisingly, constant inputs are optimal for various architectures. This suggests that the presence of non-constant periodic signals, which frequently appear in biological occupancy systems, is a signature of an underlying time-varying objective functional being optimized.



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Last modified: Tue Nov 1 14:20:17 2022
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