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  1. Abstract While blood clot formation has been relatively well studied, little is known about the mechanisms underlying the subsequent structural and mechanical clot remodeling called contraction or retraction . Impairment of the clot contraction process is associated with both life-threatening bleeding and thrombotic conditions, such as ischemic stroke, venous thromboembolism, and others. Recently, blood clot contraction was observed to be hindered in patients with COVID-19. A three-dimensional multiscale computational model is developed and used to quantify biomechanical mechanisms of the kinetics of clot contraction driven by platelet-fibrin pulling interactions. These results provide important biological insights into contraction of platelet filopodia, the mechanically active thin protrusions of the plasma membrane, described previously as performing mostly a sensory function. The biomechanical mechanisms and modeling approach described can potentially apply to studying other systems in which cells are embedded in a filamentous network and exert forces on the extracellular matrix modulated by the substrate stiffness. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  2. Abstract The exact mechanism controlling cell growth remains a grand challenge in developmental biology and regenerative medicine. The Drosophila wing disc tissue serves as an ideal biological model to study mechanisms involved in growth regulation. Most existing computational models for studying tissue growth focus specifically on either chemical signals or mechanical forces. Here we developed a multiscale chemical-mechanical model to investigate the growth regulation mechanism based on the dynamics of a morphogen gradient. By comparing the spatial distribution of dividing cells and the overall tissue shape obtained in model simulations with experimental data of the wing disc, it is shown that the size of the domain of the Dpp morphogen is critical in determining tissue size and shape. A larger tissue size with a faster growth rate and more symmetric shape can be achieved if the Dpp gradient spreads in a larger domain. Together with Dpp absorbance at the peripheral zone, the feedback regulation that downregulates Dpp receptors on the cell membrane allows for further spreading of the morphogen away from its source region, resulting in prolonged tissue growth at a more spatially homogeneous growth rate. 
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  3. Optimally spaced cis-elements of defined affinities regulate concentration-dependent transcriptional switching in stem cells. 
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  4. Nie, Qing (Ed.)
    Stem cell maintenance in multilayered shoot apical meristems (SAMs) of plants requires strict regulation of cell growth and division. Exactly how the complex milieu of chemical and mechanical signals interact in the central region of the SAM to regulate cell division plane orientation is not well understood. In this paper, simulations using a newly developed multiscale computational model are combined with experimental studies to suggest and test three hypothesized mechanisms for the regulation of cell division plane orientation and the direction of anisotropic cell expansion in the corpus. Simulations predict that in the Apical corpus, WUSCHEL and cytokinin regulate the direction of anisotropic cell expansion, and cells divide according to tensile stress on the cell wall. In the Basal corpus, model simulations suggest dual roles for WUSCHEL and cytokinin in regulating both the direction of anisotropic cell expansion and cell division plane orientation. Simulation results are followed by a detailed analysis of changes in cell characteristics upon manipulation of WUSCHEL and cytokinin in experiments that support model predictions. Moreover, simulations predict that this layer-specific mechanism maintains both the experimentally observed shape and structure of the SAM as well as the distribution of WUSCHEL in the tissue. This provides an additional link between the roles of WUSCHEL, cytokinin, and mechanical stress in regulating SAM growth and proper stem cell maintenance in the SAM. 
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  5. Abstract

    Regulation of the homeodomain transcription factor WUSCHEL concentration is critical for stem cell homeostasis inArabidopsisshoot apical meristems. WUSCHEL regulates the transcription ofCLAVATA3through a concentration-dependent activation-repression switch.CLAVATA3, a secreted peptide, activates receptor kinase signaling to repressWUSCHELtranscription. Considering the revised regulation,CLAVATA3mediated repression ofWUSCHELtranscription alone will lead to an unstable system. Here we show thatCLAVATA3signaling regulates nuclear-cytoplasmic partitioning ofWUSCHELto control nuclear levels and its diffusion into adjacent cells. Our work also reveals that WUSCHEL directly interacts with EXPORTINS via EAR-like domain which is also required for destabilizing WUSCHEL in the cytoplasm. We develop a combined experimental and computational modeling approach that integratesCLAVATA3-mediated transcriptional repression ofWUSCHELand post-translational control of nuclear levels with the WUSCHEL concentration-dependent regulation ofCLAVATA3. We show that the dual control by the same signal forms a seamless connection between de novo WUSCHEL synthesis and sub-cellular partitioning in providing robustness to the WUSCHEL gradient.

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  6. Walczak, Claire (Ed.)
    Microtubules (MTs) are cytoskeletal fibers that undergo dynamic instability (DI), a remarkable process involving phases of growth and shortening separated by stochastic transitions called catastrophe and rescue. Dissecting DI mechanism(s) requires first characterizing and quantifying these dynamics, a subjective process that often ignores complexity in MT behavior. We present a Statistical Tool for Automated Dynamic Instability Analysis (STADIA) that identifies and quantifies not only growth and shortening, but also a category of intermediate behaviors that we term “stutters.” During stutters, the rate of MT length change tends to be smaller in magnitude than during typical growth or shortening phases. Quantifying stutters and other behaviors with STADIA demonstrates that stutters precede most catastrophes in our in vitro experiments and dimer-scale MT simulations, suggesting that stutters are mechanistically involved in catastrophes. Related to this idea, we show that the anticatastrophe factor CLASP2γ works by promoting the return of stuttering MTs to growth. STADIA enables more comprehensive and data-driven analysis of MT dynamics compared with previous methods. The treatment of stutters as distinct and quantifiable DI behaviors provides new opportunities for analyzing mechanisms of MT dynamics and their regulation by binding proteins. 
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  7. null (Ed.)
    Experimental measurements or computational model predictions of the post-translational regulation of enzymes needed in a metabolic pathway is a difficult problem. Consequently, regulation is mostly known only for well-studied reactions of central metabolism in various model organisms. In this study, we use two approaches to predict enzyme regulation policies and investigate the hypothesis that regulation is driven by the need to maintain the solvent capacity in the cell. The first predictive method uses a statistical thermodynamics and metabolic control theory framework while the second method is performed using a hybrid optimization–reinforcement learning approach. Efficient regulation schemes were learned from experimental data that either agree with theoretical calculations or result in a higher cell fitness using maximum useful work as a metric. As previously hypothesized, regulation is herein shown to control the concentrations of both immediate and downstream product concentrations at physiological levels. Model predictions provide the following two novel general principles: (1) the regulation itself causes the reactions to be much further from equilibrium instead of the common assumption that highly non-equilibrium reactions are the targets for regulation; and (2) the minimal regulation needed to maintain metabolite levels at physiological concentrations maximizes the free energy dissipation rate instead of preserving a specific energy charge. The resulting energy dissipation rate is an emergent property of regulation which may be represented by a high value of the adenylate energy charge. In addition, the predictions demonstrate that the amount of regulation needed can be minimized if it is applied at the beginning or branch point of a pathway, in agreement with common notions. The approach is demonstrated for three pathways in the central metabolism of E. coli (gluconeogenesis, glycolysis-tricarboxylic acid (TCA) and pentose phosphate-TCA) that each require different regulation schemes. It is shown quantitatively that hexokinase, glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase and glyceraldehyde phosphate dehydrogenase, all branch points of pathways, play the largest roles in regulating central metabolism. 
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  8. null (Ed.)
  9. Maini, Philip K. (Ed.)