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Petri Net computational modelling of Langerhans cell Interferon Regulatory Factor Network predicts their role in T cell activation

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  • Marta E Polak
  • Chuin Ying Ung
  • Joanna Masapust
  • Tom C Freeman
  • Michael R Ardern-Jones

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    Rights statement: © The Author(s) 2017 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Cre- ative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. e images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not per- mitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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Original languageEnglish
Article number668
JournalScientific Reports
Volume7
Issue number1
Early online date6 Apr 2017
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Apr 2017

Abstract

Langerhans cells (LCs) are able to orchestrate adaptive immune responses in the skin by interpreting the microenvironmental context in which they encounter foreign substances, but the regulatory basis for this has not been established. Utilising systems immunology approaches combining in silico modelling of a reconstructed gene regulatory network (GRN) with in vitro validation of the predictions, we sought to determine the mechanisms of regulation of immune responses in human primary LCs. The key role of Interferon regulatory factors (IRFs) as controllers of the human Langerhans cell response to epidermal cytokines was revealed by whole transcriptome analysis. Applying Boolean logic we assembled a Petri net-based model of the IRF-GRN which provides molecular pathway predictions for the induction of different transcriptional programmes in LCs. In silico simulations performed after model parameterisation with transcription factor expression values predicted that human LC activation of antigen-specific CD8 T cells would be differentially regulated by epidermal cytokine induction of specific IRF-controlled pathways. This was confirmed by in vitro measurement of IFN-γ production by activated T cells. As a proof of concept, this approach shows that stochastic modelling of a specific immune networks renders transcriptome data valuable for the prediction of functional outcomes of immune responses.

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