Event category: Fall 2019
(Instituto de Ciencias Físicas, UNAM)
Fertilization Regulatory NetworksShow/Hide Abstract
Fertilization is one of the fundamental processes of living systems. Here I will address marine external fertilization and comment on recent work on mammals. I will show experiments that substantiate that sea urchin sperms exhibit chemotaxis as they swim towards the ovum. They are guided by flagellum internal [Ca2+] concentration fluctuations triggered by the binding of chemicals from the oocyte surroundings. Based on experiment, I present a family of logical regulatory networks for the [Ca2+] fluctuation signaling-pathway that reproduce previously observed electrophysiological behaviors and provide predictions, which have been confirmed with new experiments. These studies give insight on the operation of drugs that control sperm navigation. In this systems biology approach, global properties of the [Ca2+] discrete regulatory network dynamics such as
Sep 27, 2019 Online Seminar
(John Hopkins University)
Water Dynamics in Cells and TissuesShow/Hide Abstract
The mammalian cell surface is highly permeable to water. The cell can also actively control the water flux across the cell surface by pumping solutes (mostly ions), and thereby controlling the cell water content and the cell volume. In this talk, we will explore how the cell also uses active water fluxes to move and change cell shape. The same players in the cell volume control system are involved in driving cell movement, especially in high viscosity environments. Mathematical modeling shows that the water-driven cell movement is energetically costly, but is necessary when the hydraulic environment is viscous. Finally, we will discuss how epithelial cell layers such as the kidney tubule pump water and generate mechanical force.
Oct 25, 2019 Online Seminar
Control of membrane-bound tethered signaling reactionsShow/Hide Abstract
Many membrane-bound T cell receptors have long, unstructured cytoplasmic tails that contain tyrosine sites. These sites can serve as regulators of receptor activation when phosphorylated or dephosphorylated, while also serving as docking sites for cytosolic enzymes. Interactions between receptors then involve the in-membrane diffusion of the receptor proteins, and reactions between proteins tethered to the receptors’ tails (and hence diffusing within the three-dimensional cytosolic space near the membrane). We develop a particle-based stochastic reaction-diffusion model based on the Convergent Reaction-Diffusion Master Equation to study the combined diffusion of individual receptors within the cell membrane, and chemical reactions between proteins bound to receptor tails. The model suggests a switch-like behavior in the dependence of the fraction of activated receptors on both receptor diffusivity, and on the molecular reach at which two receptor tails can interact. A simplified, analytically solvable model is developed to approximate the more complicated multi-particle system, and used to illustrate how the switch-like behavior arises.
Nov 15, 2019 Online Seminar
(New York University)
Many-body problem of classical mechanics in cell biologyShow/Hide Abstract
Many-body problem of celestial mechanics revolutionized applied mathematics and continues to provide inspiration. Math/physical communities are much less aware that there are numerous example of fascinating many-body problems of classical mechanics arising in live cells at drastically different scales: instead of years and millions of kilometers, in the cell we deal with minutes and microns. Another big difference is: rather than Newtonian mechanics in empty space, when acceleration is proportional to force, in the cells filled with viscous cytoplasm, we deal with Aristotelian mechanics, in which velocity is proportional to force. Yet another difference is a great diversity of complex inter-body forces in the cell, compared to pleasingly simple gravitational force of celestial mechanics. Because of this diversity, in cell biology we often need to solve the ill-posed inverse problem – reverse-engineering forces from the observed patterns and movements – contrasted with the well-posed direct problem of predicting patterns and movements from known forces. I will discuss two many-body problems of cell biology – assembly of mitotic spindle from two centrosomes and tens of chromosomes, and nuclei positioning in multi-nucleated muscle cells. Three approaches – solutions of ODEs of ‘particle’ models, solutions of PDEs of continuous approximation, and energy minimization, complemented by computer screening – shed light on the molecular origins of the intracellular forces that ensure proper and robust cellular architecture.
Nov 22, 2019 Online Seminar