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See detailResolving the Combinatorial Complexity of Smad Protein Complex Formation and Its Link to Gene Expression.
Lucarelli, Philippe UL; Schilling, Marcel; Kreutz, Clemens et al

in Cell Systems (2017)

Upon stimulation of cells with transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta), Smad proteins form trimeric complexes and activate a broad spectrum of target genes. It remains unresolved which of the possible ... [more ▼]

Upon stimulation of cells with transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta), Smad proteins form trimeric complexes and activate a broad spectrum of target genes. It remains unresolved which of the possible Smad complexes are formed in cellular contexts and how these contribute to gene expression. By combining quantitative mass spectrometry with a computational selection strategy, we predict and provide experimental evidence for the three most relevant Smad complexes in the mouse hepatoma cell line Hepa1-6. Utilizing dynamic pathway modeling, we specify the contribution of each Smad complex to the expression of representative Smad target genes, and show that these contributions are conserved in human hepatoma cell lines and primary hepatocytes. We predict, based on gene expression data of patient samples, increased amounts of Smad2/3/4 proteins and Smad2 phosphorylation as hallmarks of hepatocellular carcinoma and experimentally verify this prediction. Our findings demonstrate that modeling approaches can disentangle the complexity of transcription factor complex formation and its impact on gene expression. [less ▲]

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See detailContext-specific flow through the MEK/ERK module produces cell- and ligand-specific patterns of ERK single and double phosphorylation.
Iwamoto, Nao; D'Alessandro, Lorenza A.; Depner, Sofia et al

in Science signaling (2016), 9(413), 13

The same pathway, such as the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway, can produce different cellular responses, depending on stimulus or cell type. We examined the phosphorylation dynamics of the ... [more ▼]

The same pathway, such as the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway, can produce different cellular responses, depending on stimulus or cell type. We examined the phosphorylation dynamics of the MAPK kinase MEK and its targets extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) in primary hepatocytes and the transformed keratinocyte cell line HaCaT A5 exposed to either hepatocyte growth factor or interleukin-6. By combining quantitative mass spectrometry with dynamic modeling, we elucidated network structures for the reversible threonine and tyrosine phosphorylation of ERK in both cell types. In addition to differences in the phosphorylation and dephosphorylation reactions, the HaCaT network model required two feedback mechanisms, which, as the experimental data suggested, involved the induction of the dual-specificity phosphatase DUSP6 and the scaffold paxillin. We assayed and modeled the accumulation of the double-phosphorylated and active form of ERK1/2, as well as the dynamics of the changes in the monophosphorylated forms of ERK1/2. Modeling the differences in the dynamics of the changes in the distributions of the phosphorylated forms of ERK1/2 suggested that different amounts of MEK activity triggered context-specific responses, with primary hepatocytes favoring the formation of double-phosphorylated ERK1/2 and HaCaT A5 cells that produce both the threonine-phosphorylated and the double-phosphorylated form. These differences in phosphorylation distributions explained the threshold, sensitivity, and saturation of the ERK response. We extended the findings of differential ERK phosphorylation profiles to five additional cultured cell systems and matched liver tumor and normal tissue, which revealed context-specific patterns of the various forms of phosphorylated ERK. [less ▲]

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See detailExcemplify: a flexible template based solution, parsing and managing data in spreadsheets for experimentalists.
Shi, Lei; Jong, Lenneke; Wittig, Ulrike et al

in Journal of integrative bioinformatics (2013), 10(2), 220

In systems biology, quantitative experimental data is the basis of building mathematical models. In most of the cases, they are stored in Excel files and hosted locally. To have a public database for ... [more ▼]

In systems biology, quantitative experimental data is the basis of building mathematical models. In most of the cases, they are stored in Excel files and hosted locally. To have a public database for collecting, retrieving and citing experimental raw data as well as experimental conditions is important for both experimentalists and modelers. However, the great effort needed in the data handling procedure and in the data submission procedure becomes the crucial limitation for experimentalists to contribute to a database, thereby impeding the database to deliver its benefit. Moreover, manual copy and paste operations which are commonly used in those procedures increase the chance of making mistakes. Excemplify, a web-based application, proposes a flexible and adaptable template-based solution to solve these problems. Comparing to the normal template based uploading approach, which is supported by some public databases, rather than predefining a format that is potentiall impractical, Excemplify allows users to create their own experiment-specific content templates in different experiment stages and to build corresponding knowledge bases for parsing. Utilizing the embedded knowledge of used templates, Excemplify is able to parse experimental data from the initial setup stage and generate following stages spreadsheets automatically. The proposed solution standardizes the flows of data traveling according to the standard procedures of applying the experiment, cuts down the amount of manual effort and reduces the chance of mistakes caused by manual data handling. In addition, it maintains the context of meta-data from the initial preparation manuscript and improves the data consistency. It interoperates and complements RightField and SEEK as well. [less ▲]

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