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Mechanistic Model of Signaling Dynamics Across an Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition


Wade, James D; Lun, Xiao-Kang; Zivanovic, Nevena; Voit, Eberhard O; Bodenmiller, Bernd (2020). Mechanistic Model of Signaling Dynamics Across an Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition. Frontiers in Physiology, 11:579117.

Abstract

Intracellular signaling pathways are at the core of cellular information processing. The states of these pathways and their inputs determine signaling dynamics and drive cell function. Within a cancerous tumor, many combinations of cell states and microenvironments can lead to dramatic variations in responses to treatment. Network rewiring has been thought to underlie these context-dependent differences in signaling; however, from a biochemical standpoint, rewiring of signaling networks should not be a prerequisite for heterogeneity in responses to stimuli. Here we address this conundrum by analyzing an in vitro model of the epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT), a biological program implicated in increased tumor invasiveness, heterogeneity, and drug resistance. We used mass cytometry to measure EGF signaling dynamics in the ERK and AKT signaling pathways before and after induction of EMT in Py2T murine breast cancer cells. Analysis of the data with standard network inference methods suggested EMT-dependent network rewiring. In contrast, use of a modeling approach that adequately accounts for single-cell variation demonstrated that a single reaction-based pathway model with constant structure and near-constant parameters is sufficient to represent differences in EGF signaling across EMT. This result indicates that rewiring of the signaling network is not necessary for heterogeneous responses to a signal and that unifying reaction-based models should be employed for characterization of signaling in heterogeneous environments, such as cancer.

Abstract

Intracellular signaling pathways are at the core of cellular information processing. The states of these pathways and their inputs determine signaling dynamics and drive cell function. Within a cancerous tumor, many combinations of cell states and microenvironments can lead to dramatic variations in responses to treatment. Network rewiring has been thought to underlie these context-dependent differences in signaling; however, from a biochemical standpoint, rewiring of signaling networks should not be a prerequisite for heterogeneity in responses to stimuli. Here we address this conundrum by analyzing an in vitro model of the epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT), a biological program implicated in increased tumor invasiveness, heterogeneity, and drug resistance. We used mass cytometry to measure EGF signaling dynamics in the ERK and AKT signaling pathways before and after induction of EMT in Py2T murine breast cancer cells. Analysis of the data with standard network inference methods suggested EMT-dependent network rewiring. In contrast, use of a modeling approach that adequately accounts for single-cell variation demonstrated that a single reaction-based pathway model with constant structure and near-constant parameters is sufficient to represent differences in EGF signaling across EMT. This result indicates that rewiring of the signaling network is not necessary for heterogeneous responses to a signal and that unifying reaction-based models should be employed for characterization of signaling in heterogeneous environments, such as cancer.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Quantitative Biomedicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Physiology
Health Sciences > Physiology (medical)
Language:English
Date:2020
Deposited On:15 Jan 2021 10:22
Last Modified:01 Jul 2021 17:16
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:1664-042X
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2020.579117
PubMed ID:33329028

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