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  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. null (Ed.)
  4. 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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  5. Maini, Philip K. (Ed.)
  6. null (Ed.)
    While machine learning approaches have shown remarkable performance in biomedical image analysis, most of these methods rely on high-quality and accurate imaging data. However, collecting such data requires intensive and careful manual effort. One of the major challenges in imaging the Shoot Apical Meristem (SAM) of Arabidopsis thaliana, is that the deeper slices in the z-stack suffer from different perpetual quality related problems like poor contrast and blurring. These quality related issues often lead to disposal of the painstakingly collected data with little to no control on quality while collecting the data. Therefore, it becomes necessary to employ and design techniques that can enhance the images to make it more suitable for further analysis. In this paper, we propose a data-driven Deep Quantized Latent Representation (DQLR) methodology for high-quality image reconstruction in the Shoot Apical Meristem (SAM) of Arabidopsis thaliana. Our proposed framework utilizes multiple consecutive slices in the z-stack to learn a low dimensional latent space, quantize it and subsequently perform reconstruction using the quantized representation to obtain sharper images. Experiments on a publicly available dataset validate our methodology showing promising results. Our code is available at github.com/agupt013/enhancedRec.git. 
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  7. Machine learning is increasingly recognized as a promising technology in the biological, biomedical, and behavioral sciences. There can be no argument that this technique is incredibly successful in image recognition with immediate applications in diagnostics including electrophysiology, radiology, or pathology, where we have access to massive amounts of annotated data. However, machine learning often performs poorly in prognosis, especially when dealing with sparse data. This is a field where classical physics-based simulation seems to remain irreplaceable. In this review, we identify areas in the biomedical sciences where machine learning and multiscale modeling can mutually benefit from one another: Machine learning can integrate physics-based knowledge in the form of governing equations, boundary conditions, or constraints to manage ill-posted problems and robustly handle sparse and noisy data; multiscale modeling can integrate machine learning to create surrogate models, identify system dynamics and parameters, analyze sensitivities, and quantify uncertainty to bridge the scales and understand the emergence of function. With a view towards applications in the life sciences, we discuss the state of the art of combining machine learning and multiscale modeling, identify applications and opportunities, raise open questions, and address potential challenges and limitations. This review serves as introduction to a special issue on Uncertainty Quantification, Machine Learning, and Data-Driven Modeling of Biological Systems that will help identify current roadblocks and areas where computational mechanics, as a discipline, can play a significant role. We anticipate that it will stimulate discussion within the community of computational mechanics and reach out to other disciplines including mathematics, statistics, computer science, artificial intelligence, biomedicine, systems biology, and precision medicine to join forces towards creating robust and efficient models for biological systems. 
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