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  1. Lavrik, Inna (Ed.)

    T cells form transient cell-to-cell contacts with antigen presenting cells (APCs) to facilitate surface interrogation by membrane bound T cell receptors (TCRs). Upon recognition of molecular signatures (antigen) of pathogen, T cells may initiate an adaptive immune response. The duration of the T cell/APC contact is observed to vary widely, yet it is unclear what constructive role, if any, such variations might play in immune signaling. Modeling efforts describing antigen discrimination often focus on steady-state approximations and do not account for the transient nature of cellular contacts. Within the framework of a kinetic proofreading (KP) mechanism, we develop a stochasticFirst Receptor Activation Model(FRAM) describing the likelihood that a productive immune signal is produced before the expiry of the contact. Through the use of extreme statistics, we characterize the probability that the first TCR triggering is induced by a rare agonist antigen and not by that of an abundant self-antigen. We show that defining positive immune outcomes as resilience to extreme statistics and sensitivity to rare events mitigates classic tradeoffs associated with KP. By choosing a sufficient number of KP steps, our model is able to yield single agonist sensitivity whilst remaining non-reactive to large populations of self antigen, even when self and agonist antigen are similar in dissociation rate to the TCR but differ largely in expression. Additionally, our model achieves high levels of accuracy even when agonist positive APCs encounters are rare. Finally, we discuss potential biological costs associated with high classification accuracy, particularly in challenging T cell environments.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 30, 2024
  2. Lavrik, Inna (Ed.)
    Biologically-informed neural networks (BINNs), an extension of physics-informed neural networks [1], are introduced and used to discover the underlying dynamics of biological systems from sparse experimental data. In the present work, BINNs are trained in a supervised learning framework to approximate in vitro cell biology assay experiments while respecting a generalized form of the governing reaction-diffusion partial differential equation (PDE). By allowing the diffusion and reaction terms to be multilayer perceptrons (MLPs), the nonlinear forms of these terms can be learned while simultaneously converging to the solution of the governing PDE. Further, the trained MLPs are used to guide the selection of biologically interpretable mechanistic forms of the PDE terms which provides new insights into the biological and physical mechanisms that govern the dynamics of the observed system. The method is evaluated on sparse real-world data from wound healing assays with varying initial cell densities [2]. 
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