415 Publications

SARS-CoV-2 Outbreak Dynamics in an Isolated US Military Recruit Training Center With Rigorous Prevention Measures

Rhonda A. Lizewski, R. Sealfon, O. Troyanskaya, et al.

Marine recruits training at Parris Island experienced an unexpectedly high rate of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, despite preventive measures including a supervised, 2-week, pre-entry quarantine. We characterize SARS-CoV-2 transmission in this cohort.

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Incompressible active phases at an interface. Part 1. Formulation and axisymmetric odd flows

L. Jia, William T. M. Irvine, M. Shelley

Inspired by the recent realization of a two-dimensional (2-D) chiral fluid as an active monolayer droplet moving atop a 3-D Stokesian fluid, we formulate mathematically its free-boundary dynamics. The surface droplet is described as a general 2-D linear, incompressible and isotropic fluid, having a viscous shear stress, an active chiral driving stress and a Hall stress allowed by the lack of time-reversal symmetry. The droplet interacts with itself through its driven internal mechanics and by driving flows in the underlying 3-D Stokes phase. We pose the dynamics as the solution to a singular integral–differential equation, over the droplet surface, using the mapping from surface stress to surface velocity for the 3-D Stokes equations. Specializing to the case of axisymmetric droplets, exact representations for the chiral surface flow are given in terms of solutions to a singular integral equation, solved using both analytical and numerical techniques. For a disc-shaped monolayer, we additionally employ a semi-analytical solution that hinges on an orthogonal basis of Bessel functions and allows for efficient computation of the monolayer velocity field, which ranges from a nearly solid-body rotation to a unidirectional edge current, depending on the subphase depth and the Saffman–Delbrück length. Except in the near-wall limit, these solutions have divergent surface shear stresses at droplet boundaries, a signature of systems with codimension-one domains embedded in a 3-D medium. We further investigate the effect of a Hall viscosity, which couples radial and transverse surface velocity components, on the dynamics of a closing cavity. Hall stresses are seen to drive inward radial motion, even in the absence of edge tension.

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Pre-infection antiviral innate immunity contributes to sex differences in SARS-CoV-2 infection

Male sex is a major risk factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection severity. To understand the basis for this sex difference, we studied SARS-CoV-2 infection in a young adult cohort of United States Marine recruits. Among 2,641 male and 244 female unvaccinated and seronegative recruits studied longitudinally, SARS-CoV-2 infections occurred in 1,033 males and 137 females. We identified sex differences in symptoms, viral load, blood transcriptome, RNA splicing, and proteomic signatures. Females had higher pre-infection expression of antiviral interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) programs. Causal mediation analysis implicated ISG differences in number of symptoms, levels of ISGs, and differential splicing of CD45 lymphocyte phosphatase during infection. Our results indicate that the antiviral innate immunity set point causally contributes to sex differences in response to SARS-CoV-2 infection. A record of this paper’s transparent peer review process is included in the supplemental information.

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November 1, 2022

Accurate de novo design of membrane-traversing macrocycles

G. Bhardwaj, G. Bhardwaj, J. O’Connor, V. Mulligan, et al.

We use computational design coupled with experimental characterization to systematically investigate the design principles for macrocycle membrane permeability and oral bioavailability. We designed 184 6–12 residue macrocycles with a wide range of predicted structures containing noncanonical backbone modifications and experimentally determined structures of 35; 29 are very close to the computational models. With such control, we show that membrane permeability can be systematically achieved by ensuring all amide (NH) groups are engaged in internal hydrogen bonding interactions. 84 designs over the 6–12 residue size range cross membranes with an apparent permeability greater than 1 × 10−6 cm/s. Designs with exposed NH groups can be made membrane permeable through the design of an alternative isoenergetic fully hydrogen-bonded state favored in the lipid membrane. The ability to robustly design membrane-permeable and orally bioavailable peptides with high structural accuracy should contribute to the next generation of designed macrocycle therapeutic

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September 15, 2022

Quantitative models for building and growing fated small cell networks

Small cell clusters exhibit numerous phenomena typically associated with complex systems, such as division of labour and programmed cell death. A conserved class of such clusters occurs during oogenesis in the form of germline cysts that give rise to oocytes. Germline cysts form through cell divisions with incomplete cytokinesis, leaving cells intimately connected through intercellular bridges that facilitate cyst generation, cell fate determination and collective growth dynamics. Using the well-characterized Drosophila melanogaster female germline cyst as a foundation, we present mathematical models rooted in the dynamics of cell cycle proteins and their interactions to explain the generation of germline cell lineage trees (CLTs) and highlight the diversity of observed CLT sizes and topologies across species. We analyse competing models of symmetry breaking in CLTs to rationalize the observed dynamics and robustness of oocyte fate specification, and highlight remaining gaps in knowledge. We also explore how CLT topology affects cell cycle dynamics and synchronization and highlight mechanisms of intercellular coupling that underlie the observed collective growth patterns during oogenesis. Throughout, we point to similarities across organisms that warrant further investigation and comment on the extent to which experimental and theoretical findings made in model systems extend to other species.

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Tuning a coiled-coil hydrogel via computational design of supramolecular fiber assembly

D. Britton, M. Meleties, D. Renfrew, et al.

The previously reported Q is a thermoresponsive coiled-coil protein capable of higher-order supramolecular assembly into fibers and hydrogels with upper critical solution temperature (UCST) behavior. Here, we introduce a new coiled-coil protein that is redesigned to disfavor lateral growth of its fibers and thus achieve a higher crosslinking density within the formed hydrogel. We also introduce a favorable hydrophobic mutation to the pore of the coiled-coil domain for increased thermostability of the protein. We note that an increase in storage modulus of the hydrogel and crosslinking density is coupled with a decrease in fiber diameter. We further fully characterize our α-helical coiled-coil (Q2) hydrogel for its structure, nano-assembly, and rheology relative to our previous single domain protein, Q, over the time of its gelation demonstrating the nature of our hydrogel self-assembly system. In this vein, we also characterize the ability of Q2 to encapsulate the small hydrophobic small molecule, curcumin, and its impact on the mechanical properties of Q2. The design parameters here not only show the importance of electrostatic potential in self-assembly but also provide a step towards predictable design of electrostatic protein interactions.

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Canary in the cardiac-valve coal mine: Flow velocity and inferred shear during prosthetic valve closure –predictors of blood damage and clotting

Lawrence N. Scotten, E. Kolahdouz

To demonstrate a clear link between predicted blood shear forces during valve closure and thrombogenicity that explains the thrombogenic difference between tissue and mechanical valves and provides a practical metric to develop and refine prosthetic valve designs for reduced thrombogenicity.

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Independently paced Ca2+ oscillations in progenitor and differentiated cells in an ex vivo epithelial organ

Ann A. Kim, Amanda Nguyen, X. Du, et al.

Cytosolic Ca2+ is a highly dynamic, tightly regulated and broadly conserved cellular signal. Ca2+ dynamics have been studied widely in cellular monocultures, yet organs in vivo comprise heterogeneous populations of stem and differentiated cells. Here, we examine Ca2+ dynamics in the adult Drosophila intestine, a self-renewing epithelial organ in which stem cells continuously produce daughters that differentiate into either enteroendocrine cells or enterocytes. Live imaging of whole organs ex vivo reveals that stem-cell daughters adopt strikingly distinct patterns of Ca2+ oscillations after differentiation: enteroendocrine cells exhibit single-cell Ca2+ oscillations, whereas enterocytes exhibit rhythmic, long-range Ca2+ waves. These multicellular waves do not propagate through immature progenitors (stem cells and enteroblasts), of which the oscillation frequency is approximately half that of enteroendocrine cells. Organ-scale inhibition of gap junctions eliminates Ca2+ oscillations in all cell types – even, intriguingly, in progenitor and enteroendocrine cells that are surrounded only by enterocytes. Our findings establish that cells adopt fate-specific modes of Ca2+ dynamics as they terminally differentiate and reveal that the oscillatory dynamics of different cell types in a single, coherent epithelium are paced independently.

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Active Microphase Separation in Mixtures of Microtubules and Tip-Accumulating Molecular Motors

Bezia Lemma , Noah P. Mitchell, D. Needleman, et al.

Mixtures of filaments and molecular motors form active materials with diverse dynamical behaviors that vary based on their constituents’ molecular properties. To develop a multiscale of these materials, we map the nonequilibrium phase diagram of microtubules and tip-accumulating kinesin-4 molecular motors. We find that kinesin-4 can drive either global contractions or turbulent like extensile dynamics, depending on the concentrations of both microtubules and a bundling agent. We also observe a range of spatially heterogeneous nonequilibrium phases, including finite-sized radial asters, 1D wormlike chains, extended 2D bilayers, and system-spanning 3D active foams. Finally, we describe intricate kinetic pathways that yield microphase-separated structures and arise from the inherent frustration between the orientational order of filamentous microtubules and the positional order of tip-accumulating molecular motors. Our work reveals a range of novel active states. It also shows that the form of active stresses is not solely dictated by the properties of individual motors and filaments, but is also contingent on the constituent concentrations and spatial arrangement of motors on the filaments.

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A sequence-based global map of regulatory activity for deciphering human genetics

Kathleen Chen, A. Wong, O. Troyanskaya, Jian Zhou

Epigenomic profiling has enabled large-scale identification of regulatory elements, yet we still lack a systematic mapping from any sequence or variant to regulatory activities. We address this challenge with Sei, a framework for integrating human genetics data with sequence information to discover the regulatory basis of traits and diseases. Sei learns a vocabulary of regulatory activities, called sequence classes, using a deep learning model that predicts 21,907 chromatin profiles across >1,300 cell lines and tissues. Sequence classes provide a global classification and quantification of sequence and variant effects based on diverse regulatory activities, such as cell type-specific enhancer functions. These predictions are supported by tissue-specific expression, expression quantitative trait loci and evolutionary constraint data. Furthermore, sequence classes enable characterization of the tissue-specific, regulatory architecture of complex traits and generate mechanistic hypotheses for individual regulatory pathogenic mutations. We provide Sei as a resource to elucidate the regulatory basis of human health and disease.

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