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Publications of Eduardo D. Sontag jointly with L. Bleris
Articles in journal or book chapters
  1. T. Kang, R. Moore, Y. Li, E.D. Sontag, and L. Bleris. Discriminating direct and indirect connectivities in biological networks. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 112:12893-12898, 2015. [PDF] Keyword(s): modular response analysis, stochastic systems, reverse engineering, gene networks, synthetic biology.
    Abstract:
    Reverse engineering of biological pathways involves an iterative process between experiments, data processing, and theoretical analysis. In this work, we engineer synthetic circuits, subject them to perturbations, and then infer network connections using a combination of nonparametric single-cell data resampling and modular response analysis. Intriguingly, we discover that recovered weights of specific network edges undergo divergent shifts under differential perturbations, and that the particular behavior is markedly different between different topologies. Investigating topological changes under differential perturbations may address the longstanding problem of discriminating direct and indirect connectivities in biological networks.


  2. T. Kang, J.T. White, Z. Xie, Y. Benenson, E.D. Sontag, and L. Bleris. Reverse engineering validation using a benchmark synthetic gene circuit in human cells. ACS Synthetic Biology, 2:255-262, 2013. [PDF] Keyword(s): reverse engineering, systems biology, synthetic biology.
    Abstract:
    This work introduces an experimental platform customized for the development and verification of reverse engineering and pathway characterization algorithms in mammalian cells. Specifically, we stably integrate a synthetic gene network in human kidney cells and use it as a benchmark for validating reverse engineering methodologies. The network, which is orthogonal to endogenous cellular signaling, contains a small set of regulatory interactions that can be used to quantify the reconstruction performance. By performing successive perturbations to each modular component of the network and comparing protein and RNA measurements, we study the conditions under which we can reliably reconstruct the causal relationships of the integrated synthetic network.


  3. V. Shimoga, J.T. White, Y. Li, E.D. Sontag, and L. Bleris. Synthetic mammalian transgene negative autoregulation. Molecular Systems Biology, 9:670-, 2013. [PDF] Keyword(s): systems biology, synthetic biology, gene expression.
    Abstract:
    Using synthetic circuits stably integrated in human kidney cells, we study the effect of negative feedback regulation on cell-wide (extrinsic) and gene-specific (intrinsic) sources of uncertainty. We develop a theoretical approach to extract the two noise components from experiments and show that negative feedback reduces extrinsic noise while marginally increasing intrinsic noise, resulting to significant total noise reduction. We compare the results to simple negative regulation, where a constitutively transcribed transcription factor represses a reporter protein. We observe that the control architecture also reduces the extrinsic noise but results in substantially higher intrinsic fluctuations. We conclude that negative feedback is the most efficient way to mitigate the effects of extrinsic fluctuations by a sole regulatory wiring.


  4. L. Bleris, Z. Xie, D. Glass, A. Adadey, E.D. Sontag, and Y. Benenson. Synthetic incoherent feed-forward circuits show adaptation to the amount of their genetic template. Molecular Systems Biology, 7:519-, 2011. [PDF] Keyword(s): adaptation, feedforward loops, systems biology, synthetic biology.
    Abstract:
    Natural and synthetic biological networks must function reliably in the face of fluctuating stoichiometry of their molecular components. These fluctuations are caused in part by changes in relative expression efficiency and the DNA template amount of the network-coding genes. Gene product levels could potentially be decoupled from these changes via built-in adaptation mechanisms, thereby boosting network reliability. Here we show that a mechanism based on an incoherent feed-forward motif enables adaptive gene expression in mammalian cells. We modeled, synthesized, and tested transcriptional and post-transcriptional incoherent loops and found that in all cases the gene product adapts to changes in DNA template abundance. We also observed that the post-transcriptional form results in superior adaptation behavior, higher absolute expression levels, and lower intrinsic fluctuations. Our results support a previously-hypothesized endogenous role in gene dosage compensation for such motifs and suggest that their incorporation in synthetic networks will improve their robustness and reliability.


Conference articles
  1. Q. Tyles, T. Kang, E.D. Sontag, and L. Bleris. Exploring the impact of resource limitations on gene network reconstruction. In Proc. IEEE Conf. Decision and Control, Dec. 2016, pages 3350-3355, 2016. [PDF] Keyword(s): Biological systems, Genetic regulatory systems, Systems biology.
    Abstract:
    Applying Modular Response Analysis to a synthetic gene circuit, which was introduced in a recent paper by the authors, leads to the inference of a nontrivial "ghost" regulation edge which was not explicitly engineered into the network and which is, in fact, not immediately apparent from experimental measurements. One may thus hypothesize that this ghost regulatory effect is due to competition for resources. A mathematical model is proposed, and analyzed in closed form, that lends validation to this hypothesis.



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Last modified: Thu Nov 23 10:40:56 2017
Author: sontag.


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