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Contextualization procedure and modeling of monocyte specific TLR signaling.Innate immunity is the first line of defense against invasion of pathogens. Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling is involved in a variety of human diseases extending far beyond immune system-related diseases, affecting a number of different tissues and cell-types. Computational models often do not account for cell-type specific differences in signaling networks. Investigation of these differences and its phenotypic implications could increase understanding of cell signaling and processes such as inflammation. The wealth of knowledge for TLR signaling has been recently summarized in a stoichiometric signaling network applicable for constraint-based modeling and analysis (COBRA). COBRA methods have been applied to investigate tissue-specific metabolism using omics data integration. Comparable approaches have not been conducted using signaling networks. In this study, we present ihsTLRv2, an updated TLR signaling network accounting for the association of 314 genes with 558 network reactions. We present a mapping procedure for transcriptomic data onto signaling networks and demonstrate the generation of a monocyte-specific TLR network. The generated monocyte network is characterized through expression of a specific set of isozymes rather than reduction of pathway contents. While further tailoring the network to a specific stimulation condition, we observed that the quantitative changes in gene expression due to LPS stimulation affected the tightly connected set of genes. Differential expression influenced about one third of the entire TLR signaling network, in particular, NF-κB activation. Thus, a cell-type and condition-specific signaling network can provide functional insight into signaling cascades. Furthermore, we demonstrate the energy dependence of TLR signaling pathways in monocytes.
Functional metabolic map of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, a beneficial human gut microbe.The human gut microbiota plays a central role in human well-being and disease. In this study, we present an integrated, iterative approach of computational modeling, in vitro experiments, metabolomics, and genomic analysis to accelerate the identification of metabolic capabilities for poorly characterized (anaerobic) microorganisms. We demonstrate this approach for the beneficial human gut microbe Faecalibacterium prausnitzii strain A2-165. We generated an automated draft reconstruction, which we curated against the limited biochemical data. This reconstruction modeling was used to develop in silico and in vitro a chemically defined medium (CDM), which was validated experimentally. Subsequent metabolomic analysis of the spent medium for growth on CDM was performed. We refined our metabolic reconstruction according to in vitro observed metabolite consumption and secretion and propose improvements to the current genome annotation of F. prausnitzii A2-165. We then used the reconstruction to systematically characterize its metabolic properties. Novel carbon source utilization capabilities and inabilities were predicted based on metabolic modeling and validated experimentally. This study resulted in a functional metabolic map of F. prausnitzii, which is available for further applications. The presented workflow can be readily extended to other poorly characterized and uncharacterized organisms to yield novel biochemical insights about the target organism.