Publications about 'sensitivity'
Articles in journal or book chapters
  1. D.K. Agrawal, E.M. Dolan, N.E. Hernandez, K.M. Blacklock, S.D. Khare, and E.D. Sontag. Mathematical models of protease-based enzymatic biosensors. ACS Synthetic Biology, 9:198-208, 2020. [PDF] Keyword(s): synthetic biology, protease-based circuits, enzymatic circuits, systems biology, Boolean circuits.
    An important goal of synthetic biology is to build biosensors and circuits with well-defined input-output relationships that operate at speeds found in natural biological systems. However, for molecular computation, most commonly used genetic circuit elements typically involve several steps from input detection to output signal production: transcription, translation, and post-translational modifications. These multiple steps together require up to several hours to respond to a single stimulus, and this limits the overall speed and complexity of genetic circuits. To address this gap, molecular frameworks that rely exclusively on post-translational steps to realize reaction networks that can process inputs at a time scale of seconds to minutes have been proposed. Here, we build mathematical models of fast biosensors capable of producing Boolean logic functionality. We employ protease-based chemical and light-induced switches, investigate their operation, and provide selection guidelines for their use as on-off switches. As a proof of concept, we implement a rapamycin-induced switch in vitro and demonstrate that its response qualitatively agrees with the predictions from our models. We then use these switches as elementary blocks, developing models for biosensors that can perform OR and XOR Boolean logic computation while using reaction conditions as tuning parameters. We use sensitivity analysis to determine the time-dependent sensitivity of the output to proteolytic and protein-protein binding reaction parameters. These fast protease-based biosensors can be used to implement complex molecular circuits with a capability of processing multiple inputs controllably and algorithmically. Our framework for evaluating and optimizing circuit performance can be applied to other molecular logic circuits.

  2. J Gevertz, J.M. Greene, C Hixahuary Sanchez Tapia, and E D Sontag. A novel COVID-19 epidemiological model with explicit susceptible and asymptomatic isolation compartments reveals unexpected consequences of timing social distancing. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 2020. Note: Under minor revision. Preprint in medRxiv. [WWW]
    Motivated by the current COVID-19 epidemic, this work introduces an epidemiological model in which separate compartments are used for susceptible and asymptomatic "socially distant" populations. Distancing directives are represented by rates of flow into these compartments, as well as by a reduction in contacts that lessens disease transmission. The dynamical behavior of this system is analyzed, under various different rate control strategies, and the sensitivity of the basic reproduction number to various parameters is studied. One of the striking features of this model is the existence of a critical implementation delay in issuing separation mandates: while a delay of about four weeks does not have an appreciable effect, issuing mandates after this critical time results in a far greater incidence of infection. In other words, there is a nontrivial but tight "window of opportunity" for commencing social distancing. Different relaxation strategies are also simulated, with surprising results. Periodic relaxation policies suggest a schedule which may significantly inhibit peak infective load, but that this schedule is very sensitive to parameter values and the schedule{ extquoteright}s frequency. Further, we considered the impact of steadily reducing social distancing measures over time. We find that a too-sudden reopening of society may negate the progress achieved under initial distancing guidelines, if not carefully designed.

  3. F. Menolascina, R. Rusconi, V.I. Fernandez, S.P. Smriga, Z. Aminzare, E. D. Sontag, and R. Stocker. Logarithmic sensing in Bacillus subtilis aerotaxis. Nature Systems Biology and Applications, 3:16036-, 2017. [PDF] Keyword(s): adaptation, biological adaptation, perfect adaptation, Aerotaxis, chemotaxis, scale invariance, FCD, fold-change detection, B. subtilis.
    Aerotaxis, the directed migration along oxygen gradients, allows many microorganisms to locate favorable oxygen concentrations. Despite oxygen's fundamental role for life, even key aspects of aerotaxis remain poorly understood. In Bacillus subtilis, for example, there is conflicting evidence of whether migration occurs to the maximal oxygen concentration available or to an optimal intermediate one, and how aerotaxis can be maintained over a broad range of conditions. Using precisely controlled oxygen gradients in a microfluidic device, spanning the full spectrum of conditions from quasi-anoxic to oxic (60nM-1mM), we resolved B. subtilis' ``oxygen preference conundrum'' by demonstrating consistent migration towards maximum oxygen concentrations. Surprisingly, the strength of aerotaxis was largely unchanged over three decades in oxygen concentration (131nM-196mM). We discovered that in this range B. subtilis responds to the logarithm of the oxygen concentration gradient, a log-sensing strategy that affords organisms high sensitivity over a wide range of conditions.

  4. A. Silva, M. Silva, P. Sudalagunta, A. Distler, T. Jacobson, A. Collins, T. Nguyen, J. Song, D.T. Chen, Lu Chen, C. Cubitt, R. Baz, L. Perez, D. Rebatchouk, W. Dalton, J.M. Greene, R. Gatenby, R. Gillies, E.D. Sontag, M. Meads, and K. Shain. An ex vivo platform for the prediction of clinical response in multiple myeloma. Cancer Research, pp 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-17-0502, 2017. [PDF] Keyword(s): cancer, multiple myeloma, personalized therapy.
    This paper describes a novel approach for characterization of chemosensitivity and prediction of clinical response in multiple myeloma. It relies upon a patient-specific computational model of clinical response, parameterized by a high-throughput ex vivo assay that quantifies sensitivity of primary MM cells to 31 agents or combinations, in a reconstruction of the tumor microenvironment. The mathematical model, which inherently accounts for intra-tumoral heterogeneity of drug sensitivity, combined with drug- and regimen-specific pharmacokinetics, produces patient-specific predictions of clinical response 5 days post-biopsy.

  5. E.D. Sontag. A technique for determining the signs of sensitivities of steady states in chemical reaction networks. IET Systems Biology, 8:251-267, 2014. [PDF] Keyword(s): sensitivity, retroactivity, biomolecular networks, systems biology.
    This paper studies the direction of change of steady states to parameter perturbations in chemical reaction networks, and, in particular, to changes in conserved quantities. Theoretical considerations lead to the formulation of a computational procedure that provides a set of possible signs of such sensitivities. The procedure is purely algebraic and combinatorial, only using information on stoichiometry, and is independent of the values of kinetic constants. Two examples of important intracellular signal transduction models are worked out as an illustration. In these examples, the set of signs found is minimal, but there is no general guarantee that the set found will always be minimal in other examples. The paper also briefly discusses the relationship of the sign problem to the question of uniqueness of steady states in stoichiometry classes.

  6. M. Miller, M. Hafner, E.D. Sontag, N. Davidsohn, S. Subramanian, P. E. M. Purnick, D. Lauffenburger, and R. Weiss. Modular design of artificial tissue homeostasis: robust control through synthetic cellular heterogeneity. PLoS Computational Biology, 8:e1002579-, 2012. [PDF] Keyword(s): systems biology, homeostasis, stem cells, synthetic biology.
    Synthetic biology efforts have largely focused on small engineered gene networks, yet understanding how to integrate multiple synthetic modules and interface them with endogenous pathways remains a challenge. Here we present the design, system integration, and analysis of several large scale synthetic gene circuits for artificial tissue homeostasis. Diabetes therapy represents a possible application for engineered homeostasis, where genetically programmed stem cells maintain a steady population of beta-cells despite continuous turnover. We develop a new iterative process that incorporates modular design principles with hierarchical performance optimization targeted for environments with uncertainty and incomplete information. We employ theoretical analysis and computational simulations of multicellular reaction/diffusion models to design and understand system behavior, and find that certain features often associated with robustness (e.g., multicellular synchronization and noise attenuation) are actually detrimental for tissue homeostasis. We overcome these problems by engineering a new class of genetic modules for 'synthetic cellular heterogeneity' that function to generate beneficial population diversity. We design two such modules (an asynchronous genetic oscillator and a signaling throttle mechanism), demonstrate their capacity for enhancing robust control, and provide guidance for experimental implementation with various computational techniques. We found that designing modules for synthetic heterogeneity can be complex, and in general requires a framework for non-linear and multifactorial analysis. Consequently, we adapt a 'phenotypic sensitivity analysis' method to determine how functional module behaviors combine to achieve optimal system performance. We ultimately combine this analysis with Bayesian network inference to extract critical, causal relationships between a module's biochemical rate-constants, its high level functional behavior in isolation, and its impact on overall system performance once integrated.

  7. A.C. Jiang, A. C. Ventura, E. D. Sontag, S. D. Merajver, A. J. Ninfa, and D. Del Vecchio. Load-induced modulation of signal transduction networks. Science Signaling, 4, issue 194:ra67, 2011. [PDF] Keyword(s): systems biology, biochemical networks, synthetic biology, futile cycles, singular perturbations, modularity.
    Biological signal transduction networks are commonly viewed as circuits that pass along in the process amplifying signals, enhancing sensitivity, or performing other signal-processing to transcriptional and other components. Here, we report on a "reverse-causality" phenomenon, which we call load-induced modulation. Through a combination of analytical and experimental tools, we discovered that signaling was modulated, in a surprising way, by downstream targets that receive the signal and, in doing so, apply what in physics is called a load. Specifically, we found that non-intuitive changes in response dynamics occurred for a covalent modification cycle when load was present. Loading altered the response time of a system, depending on whether the activity of one of the enzymes was maximal and the other was operating at its minimal rate or whether both enzymes were operating at submaximal rates. These two conditions, which we call "limit regime" and "intermediate regime," were associated with increased or decreased response times, respectively. The bandwidth, the range of frequency in which the system can process information, decreased in the presence of load, suggesting that downstream targets participate in establishing a balance between noise-filtering capabilities and a s ability to process high-frequency stimulation. Nodes in a signaling network are not independent relay devices, but rather are modulated by their downstream targets

  8. O. Shoval, U. Alon, and E.D. Sontag. Symmetry invariance for adapting biological systems. SIAM Journal on Applied Dynamical Systems, 10:857-886, 2011. Note: See here for a small typo:[PDF] Keyword(s): adaptation, biological adaptation, perfect adaptation, adaptation, feedforward loops, integral feedback, scale invariance, systems biology, transient behavior, symmetries, fcd, fold-change detection, incoherent feedforward loop, feedforward, IFFL.
    Often, the ultimate goal of regulation is to maintain a narrow range of concentration levels of vital quantities (homeostasis, adaptation) while at the same time appropriately reacting to changes in the environment (signal detection or sensitivity). Much theoretical, modeling, and analysis effort has been devoted to the understanding of these questions, traditionally in the context of steady-state responses to constant or step-changing stimuli. In this paper, we present a new theorem that provides a necessary and sufficient characterization of invariance of transient responses to symmetries in inputs. A particular example of this property, scale invariance (a.k.a. "fold change detection"), appears to be exhibited by biological sensory systems ranging from bacterial chemotaxis pathways to signal transduction mechanisms in eukaryotes. The new characterization amounts to the solvability of an associated partial differential equation. It is framed in terms of a notion which considerably extends equivariant actions of compact Lie groups. For several simple system motifs that are recurrent in biology, the solvability criterion may be checked explicitly.

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, pages 2820-2825, 2019. [PDF] Keyword(s): adaptation, biological adaptation, perfect adaptation, tracking, synthetic biology, integral feedback, TX/TL, systems biology, dynamical systems, adaptation, internal model principle.
    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.



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Last modified: Thu Sep 24 12:35:49 2020
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