- Kosakovsky Pond, Sergei L.
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- PLOS Computational Biology
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Mathematical Modeling of RNA Virus Sensing Pathways Reveals Paracrine Signaling as the Primary Factor Regulating Excessive Cytokine ProductionRNA viruses, such as influenza and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), invoke excessive immune responses; however, the kinetics that regulate inflammatory responses within infected cells remain unresolved. Here, we develop a mathematical model of the RNA virus sensing pathways, to determine the intracellular events that primarily regulate interferon, an important protein for the activation and management of inflammation. Within the ordinary differential equation (ODE) model, we incorporate viral replication, cell death, interferon stimulated genes’ antagonistic effects on viral replication, and virus sensor protein (TLR and RIG-I) kinetics. The model is parameterized to influenza infection data using Markov chain Monte Carlo and then validated against infection data from an NS1 knockout strain of influenza, demonstrating that RIG-I antagonism significantly alters cytokine signaling trajectory. Global sensitivity analysis suggests that paracrine signaling is responsible for the majority of cytokine production, suggesting that rapid cytokine production may be best managed by influencing extracellular cytokine levels. As most of the model kinetics are host cell specific and not virus specific, the model presented provides an important step to modeling the intracellular immune dynamics of many RNA viruses, including the viruses responsible for SARS, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
Spatially distributed infection increases viral load in a computational model of SARS-CoV-2 lung infectionSmith, Amber M (Ed.)A key question in SARS-CoV-2 infection is why viral loads and patient outcomes vary dramatically across individuals. Because spatial-temporal dynamics of viral spread and immune response are challenging to study in vivo, we developed Spatial Immune Model of Coronavirus (SIMCoV), a scalable computational model that simulates hundreds of millions of lung cells, including respiratory epithelial cells and T cells. SIMCoV replicates viral growth dynamics observed in patients and shows how spatially dispersed infections can lead to increased viral loads. The model also shows how the timing and strength of the T cell response can affect viral persistence, oscillations, and control. By incorporating spatial interactions, SIMCoV provides a parsimonious explanation for the dramatically different viral load trajectories among patients by varying only the number of initial sites of infection and the magnitude and timing of the T cell immune response. When the branching airway structure of the lung is explicitly represented, we find that virus spreads faster than in a 2D layer of epithelial cells, but much more slowly than in an undifferentiated 3D grid or in a well-mixed differential equation model. These results illustrate how realistic, spatially explicit computational models can improve understanding of within-host dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
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Mathematical Modeling Finds Disparate Interferon Production Rates Drive Strain-Specific Immunodynamics during Deadly Influenza InfectionThe timing and magnitude of the immune response (i.e., the immunodynamics) associated with the early innate immune response to viral infection display distinct trends across influenza A virus subtypes in vivo. Evidence shows that the timing of the type-I interferon response and the overall magnitude of immune cell infiltration are both correlated with more severe outcomes. However, the mechanisms driving the distinct immunodynamics between infections of different virus strains (strain-specific immunodynamics) remain unclear. Here, computational modeling and strain-specific immunologic data are used to identify the immune interactions that differ in mice infected with low-pathogenic H1N1 or high-pathogenic H5N1 influenza viruses. Computational exploration of free parameters between strains suggests that the production rate of interferon is the major driver of strain-specific immune responses observed in vivo, and points towards the relationship between the viral load and lung epithelial interferon production as the main source of variance between infection outcomes. A greater understanding of the contributors to strain-specific immunodynamics can be utilized in future efforts aimed at treatment development to improve clinical outcomes of high-pathogenic viral strains.
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