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1.  Comparative Metabolic Systems Analysis of Pathogenic Burkholderia 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(2):210-226.
Burkholderia cenocepacia and Burkholderia multivorans are opportunistic drug-resistant pathogens that account for the majority of Burkholderia cepacia complex infections in cystic fibrosis patients and also infect other immunocompromised individuals. While they share similar genetic compositions, B. cenocepacia and B. multivorans exhibit important differences in pathogenesis. We have developed reconciled genome-scale metabolic network reconstructions of B. cenocepacia J2315 and B. multivorans ATCC 17616 in parallel (designated iPY1537 and iJB1411, respectively) to compare metabolic abilities and contextualize genetic differences between species. The reconstructions capture the metabolic functions of the two species and give insight into similarities and differences in their virulence and growth capabilities. The two reconstructions have 1,437 reactions in common, and iPY1537 and iJB1411 have 67 and 36 metabolic reactions unique to each, respectively. After curating the extensive reservoir of metabolic genes in Burkholderia, we identified 6 genes essential to growth that are unique to iPY1513 and 13 genes uniquely essential to iJB1411. The reconstructions were refined and validated by comparing in silico growth predictions to in vitro growth capabilities of B. cenocepacia J2315, B. cenocepacia K56-2, and B. multivorans ATCC 17616 on 104 carbon sources. Overall, we identified functional pathways that indicate B. cenocepacia can produce a wider array of virulence factors compared to B. multivorans, which supports the clinical observation that B. cenocepacia is more virulent than B. multivorans. The reconciled reconstructions provide a framework for generating and testing hypotheses on the metabolic and virulence capabilities of these two related emerging pathogens.
doi:10.1128/JB.00997-13
PMCID: PMC3911241  PMID: 24163337
2.  A Two-Compartment Model of VEGF Distribution in the Mouse 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27514.
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a key regulator of angiogenesis – the growth of new microvessels from existing microvasculature. Angiogenesis is a complex process involving numerous molecular species, and to better understand it, a systems biology approach is necessary. In vivo preclinical experiments in the area of angiogenesis are typically performed in mouse models; this includes drug development targeting VEGF. Thus, to quantitatively interpret such experimental results, a computational model of VEGF distribution in the mouse can be beneficial. In this paper, we present an in silico model of VEGF distribution in mice, determine model parameters from existing experimental data, conduct sensitivity analysis, and test the validity of the model.
The multiscale model is comprised of two compartments: blood and tissue. The model accounts for interactions between two major VEGF isoforms (VEGF120 and VEGF164) and their endothelial cell receptors VEGFR-1, VEGFR-2, and co-receptor neuropilin-1. Neuropilin-1 is also expressed on the surface of parenchymal cells. The model includes transcapillary macromolecular permeability, lymphatic transport, and macromolecular plasma clearance. Simulations predict that the concentration of unbound VEGF in the tissue is approximately 50-fold greater than in the blood. These concentrations are highly dependent on the VEGF secretion rate. Parameter estimation was performed to fit the simulation results to available experimental data, and permitted the estimation of VEGF secretion rate in healthy tissue, which is difficult to measure experimentally. The model can provide quantitative interpretation of preclinical animal data and may be used in conjunction with experimental studies in the development of pro- and anti-angiogenic agents. The model approximates the normal tissue as skeletal muscle and includes endothelial cells to represent the vasculature. As the VEGF system becomes better characterized in other tissues and cell types, the model can be expanded to include additional compartments and vascular elements.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027514
PMCID: PMC3210788  PMID: 22087332

Results 1-2 (2)