Testing the inferred transcription rates of a dynamic, gene network model in absolute units

Uriel Urquiza-García, Andrew J Millar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The circadian clock coordinates plant physiology and development. Mathematical clock models have provided a rigorous framework to understand how the observed rhythms emerge from disparate, molecular processes. However, models of the plant clock have largely been built and tested against RNA timeseries data in arbitrary, relative units. This limits model transferability, refinement from biochemical data and applications in synthetic biology. Here, we incorporate absolute mass units into a detailed model of the clock gene network in Arabidopsis thaliana. We re-interpret the established P2011 model, highlighting a transcriptional activator that overlaps the function of REVEILLE 8/LHY-CCA1-LIKE 5. The U2020 model incorporates the repressive regulation of PRR genes, a key feature of the most detailed clock model KF2014, without greatly increasing model complexity. We tested the experimental error distributions of qRT-PCR data calibrated for units of RNA transcripts/cell and of circadian period estimates, in order to link the models to data more appropriately. U2019 and U2020 models were constrained using these data types, recreating previously-described circadian behaviours with RNA metabolic processes in absolute units. To test their inferred rates, we estimated a distribution of observed, transcriptome-wide transcription rates (Plant Empirical Transcription Rates, PETR) in units of transcripts/cell/hour. The PETR distribution and the equivalent degradation rates indicated that the models’ predicted rates are biologically plausible, with individual exceptions. In addition to updated clock models, FAIR data resources and a software environment in Docker, this validation process represents an advance in biochemical realism for models of plant gene regulation.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberdiab022
JournalIn Silico Plants
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2021


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