• Entropy-driven cell decision-making predicts ‘fluid-to-solid’ transition in multicellular systems

      Barua, Arnab; Syga, Simon; Mascheroni, Pietro; Kavallaris, Nikos; Meyer-Hermann, Michael; Deutsch, Andreas; Hatzikirou, Haralampos; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56,38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (Institute of Physics, 2020-12-01)
      Cellular decision making allows cells to assume functionally different phenotypes in response to microenvironmental cues, with or without genetic change. It is an open question, how individual cell decisions influence the dynamics at the tissue level. Here, we study spatio-temporal pattern formation in a population of cells exhibiting phenotypic plasticity, which is a paradigm of cell decision making. We focus on the migration/resting and the migration/proliferation plasticity which underly the epithelial-mesenchymal transition and the go or grow dichotomy. We assume that cells change their phenotype in order to minimize their microenvironmental entropy following the LEUP (Least microEnvironmental Uncertainty Principle) hypothesis. In turn, we study the impact of the LEUP-driven migration/resting and migration/proliferation plasticity on the corresponding multicellular spatio-temporal dynamics with a stochastic cell-based mathematical model for the spatio-temporal dynamics of the cell phenotypes. In the case of the go or rest plasticity, a corresponding mean-field approximation allows to identify a bistable switching mechanism between a diffusive (fluid) and an epithelial (solid) tissue phase which depends on the sensitivity of the phenotypes to the environment. For the go or grow plasticity, we show the possibility of Turing pattern formation for the ‘solid’ tissue phase and its relation with the parameters of the LEUP-driven cell decisions.
    • A least microenvironmental uncertainty principle (LEUP) as a generative model of collective cell migration mechanisms.

      Barua, Arnab; Nava-Sedeño, Josue M; Meyer-Hermann, Michael; Hatzikirou, Haralampos; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56,38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (Nature research, 2020-12-22)
      Collective migration is commonly observed in groups of migrating cells, in the form of swarms or aggregates. Mechanistic models have proven very useful in understanding collective cell migration. Such models, either explicitly consider the forces involved in the interaction and movement of individuals or phenomenologically define rules which mimic the observed behavior of cells. However, mechanisms leading to collective migration are varied and specific to the type of cells involved. Additionally, the precise and complete dynamics of many important chemomechanical factors influencing cell movement, from signalling pathways to substrate sensing, are typically either too complex or largely unknown. The question is how to make quantitative/qualitative predictions of collective behavior without exact mechanistic knowledge. Here we propose the least microenvironmental uncertainty principle (LEUP) that may serve as a generative model of collective migration without precise incorporation of full mechanistic details. Using statistical physics tools, we show that the famous Vicsek model is a special case of LEUP. Finally, to test the biological applicability of our theory, we apply LEUP to construct a model of the collective behavior of spherical Serratia marcescens bacteria, where the underlying migration mechanisms remain elusive.
    • Postprandial Metabolic Effects of Fiber Mixes Revealed by in vivo Stable Isotope Labeling in Humans.

      Schlicker, Lisa; Boers, Hanny M; Dudek, Christian-Alexander; Zhao, Gang; Barua, Arnab; Trezzi, Jean-Pierre; Meyer-Hermann, Michael; Jacobs, Doris M; Hiller, Karsten; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56,38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (MPDI, 2019-05-07)
      Food supplementation with a fiber mix of guar gum and chickpea flour represents a promising approach to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) by attenuating postprandial glycemia. To investigate the effects on postprandial metabolic fluxes of glucose-derived metabolites in response to this fiber mix, a randomized, cross-over study was designed. Twelve healthy, male subjects consumed three different flatbreads either supplemented with 2% guar gum or 4% guar gum and 15% chickpea flour or without supplementation (control). The flatbreads were enriched with ~2% of 13C-labeled wheat flour. Blood was collected at 16 intervals over a period of 360 min after bread intake and plasma samples were analyzed by GC-MS based metabolite profiling combined with stable isotope-assisted metabolomics. Although metabolite levels of the downstream metabolites of glucose, specifically lactate and alanine, were not altered in response to the fiber mix, supplementation of 4% guar gum was shown to significantly delay and reduce the exogenous formation of these metabolites. Metabolic modeling and computation of appearance rates revealed that the effects induced by the fiber mix were strongest for glucose and attenuated downstream of glucose. Further investigations to explore the potential of fiber mix supplementation to counteract the development of metabolic diseases are warranted.