Setty, Yaki and Chen, Chih-Chun and Secrier, Maria and Skoblov, Nikita and Kalamatianos, Dimitrios and Emmott, Stephen
How neurons migrate: a dynamic in-silico model
of neuronal migration in the developing cortex.
BMC Systems Biology, 5 (154).
Background: Neuronal migration, the process by which neurons migrate from their place of origin to their final
position in the brain, is a central process for normal brain development and function. Advances in experimental
techniques have revealed much about many of the molecular components involved in this process.
Notwithstanding these advances, how the molecular machinery works together to govern the migration process
has yet to be fully understood. Here we present a computational model of neuronal migration, in which four key
molecular entities, Lis1, DCX, Reelin and GABA, form a molecular program that mediates the migration process.
Results: The model simulated the dynamic migration process, consistent with in-vivo observations of morphological,
cellular and population-level phenomena. Specifically, the model reproduced migration phases, cellular dynamics
and population distributions that concur with experimental observations in normal neuronal development. We
tested the model under reduced activity of Lis1 and DCX and found an aberrant development similar to observations
in Lis1 and DCX silencing expression experiments. Analysis of the model gave rise to unforeseen insights that could
guide future experimental study. Specifically: (1) the model revealed the possibility that under conditions of Lis1
reduced expression, neurons experience an oscillatory neuron-glial association prior to the multipolar stage; and (2)
we hypothesized that observed morphology variations in rats and mice may be explained by a single difference in
the way that Lis1 and DCX stimulate bipolar motility. From this we make the following predictions: (1) under reduced
Lis1 and enhanced DCX expression, we predict a reduced bipolar migration in rats, and (2) under enhanced DCX
expression in mice we predict a normal or a higher bipolar migration.
Conclusions: We present here a system-wide computational model of neuronal migration that integrates theory
and data within a precise, testable framework. Our model accounts for a range of observable behaviors and affords
a computational framework to study aspects of neuronal migration as a complex process that is driven by a
relatively simple molecular program. Analysis of the model generated new hypotheses and yet unobserved
phenomena that may guide future experimental studies. This paper thus reports a first step toward a
comprehensive in-silico model of neuronal migration.
||The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1752-0509/5/154 . © 2011 Setty et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
||neurons; dynamic; in-silico; model; neuronal migration; developing cortex; brain development;
||Science & Engineering > Hamilton Institute
||08 May 2012 14:57
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||BMC Systems Biology
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