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  1. Kosakovsky Pond, Sergei L. (Ed.)
    Respiratory viruses present major public health challenges, as evidenced by the 1918 Spanish Flu, the 1957 H2N2, 1968 H3N2, and 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemics, and the ongoing severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. Severe RNA virus respiratory infections often correlate with high viral load and excessive inflammation. Understanding the dynamics of the innate immune response and its manifestations at the cell and tissue levels is vital to understanding the mechanisms of immunopathology and to developing strain-independent treatments. Here, we present a novel spatialized multicellular computational model of RNA virus infection and the type-I interferon-mediated antiviral response that it induces within lung epithelial cells. The model is built using the CompuCell3D multicellular simulation environment and is parameterized using data from influenza virus-infected cell cultures. Consistent with experimental observations, it exhibits either linear radial growth of viral plaques or arrested plaque growth depending on the local concentration of type I interferons. The model suggests that modifying the activity of signaling molecules in the JAK/STAT pathway or altering the ratio of the diffusion lengths of interferon and virus in the cell culture could lead to plaque growth arrest. The dependence of plaque growth arrest on diffusion lengths highlights the importance ofmore »developing validated spatial models of cytokine signaling and the need for in vitro measurement of these diffusion coefficients. Sensitivity analyses under conditions leading to continuous or arrested plaque growth found that plaque growth is more sensitive to variations of most parameters and more likely to have identifiable model parameters when conditions lead to plaque arrest. This result suggests that cytokine assay measurements may be most informative under conditions leading to arrested plaque growth. The model is easy to extend to include SARS-CoV-2-specific mechanisms or to use as a component in models linking epithelial cell signaling to systemic immune models.« less
  2. Abstract Background

    The biophysics of an organism span multiple scales from subcellular to organismal and include processes characterized by spatial properties, such as the diffusion of molecules, cell migration, and flow of intravenous fluids. Mathematical biology seeks to explain biophysical processes in mathematical terms at, and across, all relevant spatial and temporal scales, through the generation of representative models. While non-spatial, ordinary differential equation (ODE) models are often used and readily calibrated to experimental data, they do not explicitly represent the spatial and stochastic features of a biological system, limiting their insights and applications. However, spatial models describing biological systems with spatial information are mathematically complex and computationally expensive, which limits the ability to calibrate and deploy them and highlights the need for simpler methods able to model the spatial features of biological systems.

    Results

    In this work, we develop a formal method for deriving cell-based, spatial, multicellular models from ODE models of population dynamics in biological systems, and vice versa. We provide examples of generating spatiotemporal, multicellular models from ODE models of viral infection and immune response. In these models, the determinants of agreement of spatial and non-spatial models are the degree of spatial heterogeneity in viral production and rates ofmore »extracellular viral diffusion and decay. We show how ODE model parameters can implicitly represent spatial parameters, and cell-based spatial models can generate uncertain predictions through sensitivity to stochastic cellular events, which is not a feature of ODE models. Using our method, we can test ODE models in a multicellular, spatial context and translate information to and from non-spatial and spatial models, which help to employ spatiotemporal multicellular models using calibrated ODE model parameters. We additionally investigate objects and processes implicitly represented by ODE model terms and parameters and improve the reproducibility of spatial, stochastic models.

    Conclusion

    We developed and demonstrate a method for generating spatiotemporal, multicellular models from non-spatial population dynamics models of multicellular systems. We envision employing our method to generate new ODE model terms from spatiotemporal and multicellular models, recast popular ODE models on a cellular basis, and generate better models for critical applications where spatial and stochastic features affect outcomes.

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