- Emergence of the mitochondrial reticulum from fission and fusion dynamics (2012)
- Mitochondria form a dynamic tubular reticulum within eukaryotic cells. Currently, quantitative understanding of its morphological characteristics is largely absent, despite major progress in deciphering the molecular fission and fusion machineries shaping its structure. Here we address the principles of formation and the large-scale organization of the cell-wide network of mitochondria. On the basis of experimentally determined structural features we establish the tip-to-tip and tip-to-side fission and fusion events as dominant reactions in the motility of this organelle. Subsequently, we introduce a graph-based model of the chondriome able to encompass its inherent variability in a single framework. Using both mean-field deterministic and explicit stochastic mathematical methods we establish a relationship between the chondriome structural network characteristics and underlying kinetic rate parameters. The computational analysis indicates that mitochondrial networks exhibit a percolation threshold. Intrinsic morphological instability of the mitochondrial reticulum resulting from its vicinity to the percolation transition is proposed as a novel mechanism that can be utilized by cells for optimizing their functional competence via dynamic remodeling of the chondriome. The detailed size distribution of the network components predicted by the dynamic graph representation introduces a relationship between chondriome characteristics and cell function. It forms a basis for understanding the architecture of mitochondria as a cell-wide but inhomogeneous organelle. Analysis of the reticulum adaptive configuration offers a direct clarification for its impact on numerous physiological processes strongly dependent on mitochondrial dynamics and organization, such as efficiency of cellular metabolism, tissue differentiation and aging.
- Immunologische Experimente am Computer : theoretische Immunologie schließt Wissenslücken (2006)
- Mathematische Methoden in der Biologie haben sich in den vergangenen 25 Jahren zunehmend etabliert. Etwa in den Bereichen der Entwicklung von Organen und Organismen sind große Anstrengungen in der Mathematik unternommen worden, die grundlegenden Mechanismen der Entwicklung aufzudecken. Der einfache Gedanke, auf dem diese Methode aufbaut, ist ein reduktionistischer: Man verwendet einen minimalen Satz von in der Biologie beobachteten Wechselwirkungen – etwa zwischen den Zellen, die das betrachtete Gewebe aufbauen –, übersetzt sie in ein mathematisches System von dynamischen Gleichungen, löst diese auf dem Computer und prüft, ob sich in der Lösung die erwartete Struktur zeigt. Wenn dies allein aufgrund experimenteller Daten aus der Biologie nicht möglich ist, ergibt sich der größte Nutzen der mathematischen Beschreibung: Dann sind neue Hypothesen im mathematischen Modell notwendig, um das reale System beschreiben zu können. Damit sagen die Theoretiker Zusammenhänge voraus, die aus der Biologie alleine nicht ableitbar sind. Diese können durch neue gezielte Experimente verifiziert werden. Ein ähnlicher Ansatz wurde in jüngerer Zeit von unserer Gruppe am Frankfurter Instute for Advanced Studies (FIAS) in der Immunologie verwendet.
- Geometrically repatterned immunological synapses uncover formation mechanisms (2006)
- The interaction of T cells and antigen-presenting cells is central to adaptive immunity and involves the formation of immunological synapses in many cases. The surface molecules of the cells form a characteristic spatial pattern whose formation mechanisms and function are largely unknown. We perform computer simulations of recent experiments on geometrically repatterned immunological synapses and explain the emerging structure as well as the formation dynamics. Only the combination of in vitro experiments and computer simulations has the potential to pinpoint the kind of interactions involved. The presented simulations make clear predictions for the structure of the immunological synapse and elucidate the role of a self-organizing attraction between complexes of T cell receptor and peptide–MHC molecule, versus a centrally directed motion of these complexes.
- QCD-Summenregeln mit Massen (1993)
- Die innere Struktur des Nukleons : Vielteilchenkorrelatoren und Störungskorrekturen im Limes großer N f (1997)
- Deriving a germinal center lymphocyte migration model from two-photon data (2008)
- Recently, two-photon imaging has allowed intravital tracking of lymphocyte migration and cellular interactions during germinal center (GC) reactions. The implications of two-photon measurements obtained by several investigators are currently the subject of controversy. With the help of two mathematical approaches, we reanalyze these data. It is shown that the measured lymphocyte migration frequency between the dark and the light zone is quantitatively explained by persistent random walk of lymphocytes. The cell motility data imply a fast intermixture of cells within the whole GC in approximately 3 h, and this does not allow for maintenance of dark and light zones. The model predicts that chemotaxis is active in GCs to maintain GC zoning and demonstrates that chemotaxis is consistent with two-photon lymphocyte motility data. However, the model also predicts that the chemokine sensitivity is quickly down-regulated. On the basis of these fi ndings, we formulate a novel GC lymphocyte migration model and propose its verifi cation by new two-photon experiments that combine the measurement of B cell migration with that of specifi c chemokine receptor expression levels. In addition, we discuss some statistical limitations for the interpretation of two-photon cell motility measurements in general.
- In silico analysis of cell cycle synchronisation effects in radiotherapy of tumour spheroids (2013)
- Abstract: Tumour cells show a varying susceptibility to radiation damage as a function of the current cell cycle phase. While this sensitivity is averaged out in an unperturbed tumour due to unsynchronised cell cycle progression, external stimuli such as radiation or drug doses can induce a resynchronisation of the cell cycle and consequently induce a collective development of radiosensitivity in tumours. Although this effect has been regularly described in experiments it is currently not exploited in clinical practice and thus a large potential for optimisation is missed. We present an agent-based model for three-dimensional tumour spheroid growth which has been combined with an irradiation damage and kinetics model. We predict the dynamic response of the overall tumour radiosensitivity to delivered radiation doses and describe corresponding time windows of increased or decreased radiation sensitivity. The degree of cell cycle resynchronisation in response to radiation delivery was identified as a main determinant of the transient periods of low and high radiosensitivity enhancement. A range of selected clinical fractionation schemes is examined and new triggered schedules are tested which aim to maximise the effect of the radiation-induced sensitivity enhancement. We find that the cell cycle resynchronisation can yield a strong increase in therapy effectiveness, if employed correctly. While the individual timing of sensitive periods will depend on the exact cell and radiation types, enhancement is a universal effect which is present in every tumour and accordingly should be the target of experimental investigation. Experimental observables which can be assessed non-invasively and with high spatio-temporal resolution have to be connected to the radiosensitivity enhancement in order to allow for a possible tumour-specific design of highly efficient treatment schedules based on induced cell cycle synchronisation. Author Summary: The sensitivity of a cell to a dose of radiation is largely affected by its current position within the cell cycle. While under normal circumstances progression through the cell cycle will be asynchronous in a tumour mass, external influences such as chemo- or radiotherapy can induce a synchronisation. Such a common progression of the inner clock of the cancer cells results in the critical dependence on the effectiveness of any drug or radiation dose on a suitable timing for its administration. We analyse the exact evolution of the radiosensitivity of a sample tumour spheroid in a computer model, which enables us to predict time windows of decreased or increased radiosensitivity. Fractionated radiotherapy schedules can be tailored in order to avoid periods of high resistance and exploit the induced radiosensitivity for an increase in therapy efficiency. We show that the cell cycle effects can drastically alter the outcome of fractionated irradiation schedules in a spheroid cell system. By using the correct observables and continuous monitoring, the cell cycle sensitivity effects have the potential to be integrated into treatment planing of the future and thus to be employed for a better outcome in clinical cancer therapies.
- Deceleration of fusion–fission cycles improves mitochondrial quality control during aging (2012)
- Mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy play a key role in ensuring mitochondrial quality control. Impairment thereof was proposed to be causative to neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, and cancer. Accumulation of mitochondrial dysfunction was further linked to aging. Here we applied a probabilistic modeling approach integrating our current knowledge on mitochondrial biology allowing us to simulate mitochondrial function and quality control during aging in silico. We demonstrate that cycles of fusion and fission and mitophagy indeed are essential for ensuring a high average quality of mitochondria, even under conditions in which random molecular damage is present. Prompted by earlier observations that mitochondrial fission itself can cause a partial drop in mitochondrial membrane potential, we tested the consequences of mitochondrial dynamics being harmful on its own. Next to directly impairing mitochondrial function, pre-existing molecular damage may be propagated and enhanced across the mitochondrial population by content mixing. In this situation, such an infection-like phenomenon impairs mitochondrial quality control progressively. However, when imposing an age-dependent deceleration of cycles of fusion and fission, we observe a delay in the loss of average quality of mitochondria. This provides a rational why fusion and fission rates are reduced during aging and why loss of a mitochondrial fission factor can extend life span in fungi. We propose the ‘mitochondrial infectious damage adaptation’ (MIDA) model according to which a deceleration of fusion–fission cycles reflects a systemic adaptation increasing life span.