@phdthesis{8653,
abstract = {Mutations are the raw material of evolution and come in many different flavors. Point mutations change a single letter in the DNA sequence, while copy number mutations like duplications or deletions add or remove many letters of the DNA sequence simultaneously. Each type of mutation exhibits specific properties like its rate of formation and reversal.
Gene expression is a fundamental phenotype that can be altered by both, point and copy number mutations. The following thesis is concerned with the dynamics of gene expression evolution and how it is affected by the properties exhibited by point and copy number mutations. Specifically, we are considering i) copy number mutations during adaptation to fluctuating environments and ii) the interaction of copy number and point mutations during adaptation to constant environments. },
author = {Tomanek, Isabella},
issn = {2663-337X},
keywords = {duplication, amplification, promoter, CNV, AMGET, experimental evolution, Escherichia coli},
pages = {117},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{The evolution of gene expression by copy number and point mutations}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:8653},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{8657,
abstract = {Synthesis of proteins – translation – is a fundamental process of life. Quantitative studies anchor translation into the context of bacterial physiology and reveal several mathematical relationships, called “growth laws,” which capture physiological feedbacks between protein synthesis and cell growth. Growth laws describe the dependency of the ribosome abundance as a function of growth rate, which can change depending on the growth conditions. Perturbations of translation reveal that bacteria employ a compensatory strategy in which the reduced translation capability results in increased expression of the translation machinery.
Perturbations of translation are achieved in various ways; clinically interesting is the application of translation-targeting antibiotics – translation inhibitors. The antibiotic effects on bacterial physiology are often poorly understood. Bacterial responses to two or more simultaneously applied antibiotics are even more puzzling. The combined antibiotic effect determines the type of drug interaction, which ranges from synergy (the effect is stronger than expected) to antagonism (the effect is weaker) and suppression (one of the drugs loses its potency).
In the first part of this work, we systematically measure the pairwise interaction network for translation inhibitors that interfere with different steps in translation. We find that the interactions are surprisingly diverse and tend to be more antagonistic. To explore the underlying mechanisms, we begin with a minimal biophysical model of combined antibiotic action. We base this model on the kinetics of antibiotic uptake and binding together with the physiological response described by the growth laws. The biophysical model explains some drug interactions, but not all; it specifically fails to predict suppression.
In the second part of this work, we hypothesize that elusive suppressive drug interactions result from the interplay between ribosomes halted in different stages of translation. To elucidate this putative mechanism of drug interactions between translation inhibitors, we generate translation bottlenecks genetically using in- ducible control of translation factors that regulate well-defined translation cycle steps. These perturbations accurately mimic antibiotic action and drug interactions, supporting that the interplay of different translation bottlenecks partially causes these interactions.
We extend this approach by varying two translation bottlenecks simultaneously. This approach reveals the suppression of translocation inhibition by inhibited translation. We rationalize this effect by modeling dense traffic of ribosomes that move on transcripts in a translation factor-mediated manner. This model predicts a dissolution of traffic jams caused by inhibited translocation when the density of ribosome traffic is reduced by lowered initiation. We base this model on the growth laws and quantitative relationships between different translation and growth parameters.
In the final part of this work, we describe a set of tools aimed at quantification of physiological and translation parameters. We further develop a simple model that directly connects the abundance of a translation factor with the growth rate, which allows us to extract physiological parameters describing initiation. We demonstrate the development of tools for measuring translation rate.
This thesis showcases how a combination of high-throughput growth rate mea- surements, genetics, and modeling can reveal mechanisms of drug interactions. Furthermore, by a gradual transition from combinations of antibiotics to precise genetic interventions, we demonstrated the equivalency between genetic and chemi- cal perturbations of translation. These findings tile the path for quantitative studies of antibiotic combinations and illustrate future approaches towards the quantitative description of translation.},
author = {Kavcic, Bor},
isbn = {978-3-99078-011-4},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {271},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Perturbations of protein synthesis: from antibiotics to genetics and physiology}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:8657},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{8822,
abstract = {Self-organization is a hallmark of plant development manifested e.g. by intricate leaf vein patterns, flexible formation of vasculature during organogenesis or its regeneration following wounding. Spontaneously arising channels transporting the phytohormone auxin, created by coordinated polar localizations of PIN-FORMED 1 (PIN1) auxin exporter, provide positional cues for these as well as other plant patterning processes. To find regulators acting downstream of auxin and the TIR1/AFB auxin signaling pathway essential for PIN1 coordinated polarization during auxin canalization, we performed microarray experiments. Besides the known components of general PIN polarity maintenance, such as PID and PIP5K kinases, we identified and characterized a new regulator of auxin canalization, the transcription factor WRKY DNA-BINDING PROTEIN 23 (WRKY23).
Next, we designed a subsequent microarray experiment to further uncover other molecular players, downstream of auxin-TIR1/AFB-WRKY23 involved in the regulation of auxin-mediated PIN repolarization. We identified a novel and crucial part of the molecular machinery underlying auxin canalization. The auxin-regulated malectin-type receptor-like kinase CAMEL and the associated leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinase CANAR target and directly phosphorylate PIN auxin transporters. camel and canar mutants are impaired in PIN1 subcellular trafficking and auxin-mediated repolarization leading to defects in auxin transport, ultimately to leaf venation and vasculature regeneration defects. Our results describe the CAMEL-CANAR receptor complex, which is required for auxin feed-back on its own transport and thus for coordinated tissue polarization during auxin canalization.},
author = {Hajny, Jakub},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {249},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Identification and characterization of the molecular machinery of auxin-dependent canalization during vasculature formation and regeneration}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:8822},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{7196,
abstract = {In this thesis we study certain mathematical aspects of evolution. The two primary forces that drive an evolutionary process are mutation and selection. Mutation generates new variants in a population. Selection chooses among the variants depending on the reproductive rates of individuals. Evolutionary processes are intrinsically random – a new mutation that is initially present in the population at low frequency can go extinct, even if it confers a reproductive advantage. The overall rate of evolution is largely determined by two quantities: the probability that an invading advantageous mutation spreads through the population (called fixation probability) and the time until it does so (called fixation time). Both those quantities crucially depend not only on the strength of the invading mutation but also on the population structure. In this thesis, we aim to understand how the underlying population structure affects the overall rate of evolution. Specifically, we study population structures that increase the fixation probability of advantageous mutants (called amplifiers of selection). Broadly speaking, our results are of three different types: We present various strong amplifiers, we identify regimes under which only limited amplification is feasible, and we propose population structures that provide different tradeoffs between high fixation probability and short fixation time.},
author = {Tkadlec, Josef},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {144},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{A role of graphs in evolutionary processes}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:7196},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{7460,
abstract = {Many methods for the reconstruction of shapes from sets of points produce ordered simplicial complexes, which are collections of vertices, edges, triangles, and their higher-dimensional analogues, called simplices, in which every simplex gets assigned a real value measuring its size. This thesis studies ordered simplicial complexes, with a focus on their topology, which reflects the connectedness of the represented shapes and the presence of holes. We are interested both in understanding better the structure of these complexes, as well as in developing algorithms for applications.
For the Delaunay triangulation, the most popular measure for a simplex is the radius of the smallest empty circumsphere. Based on it, we revisit Alpha and Wrap complexes and experimentally determine their probabilistic properties for random data. Also, we prove the existence of tri-partitions, propose algorithms to open and close holes, and extend the concepts from Euclidean to Bregman geometries.},
author = {Ölsböck, Katharina},
issn = {2663-337X},
keywords = {shape reconstruction, hole manipulation, ordered complexes, Alpha complex, Wrap complex, computational topology, Bregman geometry},
pages = {155},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{The hole system of triangulated shapes}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:7460},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{7514,
abstract = {We study the interacting homogeneous Bose gas in two spatial dimensions in the thermodynamic limit at fixed density. We shall be concerned with some mathematical aspects of this complicated problem in many-body quantum mechanics. More specifically, we consider the dilute limit where the scattering length of the interaction potential, which is a measure for the effective range of the potential, is small compared to the average distance between the particles. We are interested in a setting with positive (i.e., non-zero) temperature. After giving a survey of the relevant literature in the field, we provide some facts and examples to set expectations for the two-dimensional system. The crucial difference to the three-dimensional system is that there is no Bose–Einstein condensate at positive temperature due to the Hohenberg–Mermin–Wagner theorem. However, it turns out that an asymptotic formula for the free energy holds similarly to the three-dimensional case.
We motivate this formula by considering a toy model with δ interaction potential. By restricting this model Hamiltonian to certain trial states with a quasi-condensate we obtain an upper bound for the free energy that still has the quasi-condensate fraction as a free parameter. When minimizing over the quasi-condensate fraction, we obtain the Berezinskii–Kosterlitz–Thouless critical temperature for superfluidity, which plays an important role in our rigorous contribution. The mathematically rigorous result that we prove concerns the specific free energy in the dilute limit. We give upper and lower bounds on the free energy in terms of the free energy of the non-interacting system and a correction term coming from the interaction. Both bounds match and thus we obtain the leading term of an asymptotic approximation in the dilute limit, provided the thermal wavelength of the particles is of the same order (or larger) than the average distance between the particles. The remarkable feature of this result is its generality: the correction term depends on the interaction potential only through its scattering length and it holds for all nonnegative interaction potentials with finite scattering length that are measurable. In particular, this allows to model an interaction of hard disks.},
author = {Mayer, Simon},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {148},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{The free energy of a dilute two-dimensional Bose gas}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:7514},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{7629,
abstract = {This thesis is based on three main topics: In the first part, we study convergence of discrete gradient flow structures associated with regular finite-volume discretisations of Fokker-Planck equations. We show evolutionary I convergence of the discrete gradient flows to the L2-Wasserstein gradient flow corresponding to the solution of a Fokker-Planck
equation in arbitrary dimension d >= 1. Along the argument, we prove Mosco- and I-convergence results for discrete energy functionals, which are of independent interest for convergence of equivalent gradient flow structures in Hilbert spaces.
The second part investigates L2-Wasserstein flows on metric graph. The starting point is a Benamou-Brenier formula for the L2-Wasserstein distance, which is proved via a regularisation scheme for solutions of the continuity equation, adapted to the peculiar geometric structure of metric graphs. Based on those results, we show that the L2-Wasserstein space over a metric graph admits a gradient flow which may be identified as a solution of a Fokker-Planck equation.
In the third part, we focus again on the discrete gradient flows, already encountered in the first part. We propose a variational structure which extends the gradient flow structure to Markov chains violating the detailed-balance conditions. Using this structure, we characterise contraction estimates for the discrete heat flow in terms of convexity of
corresponding path-dependent energy functionals. In addition, we use this approach to derive several functional inequalities for said functionals.},
author = {Forkert, Dominik L},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {154},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Gradient flows in spaces of probability measures for finite-volume schemes, metric graphs and non-reversible Markov chains}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:7629},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{7680,
abstract = {Proteins and their complex dynamic interactions regulate cellular mechanisms from sensing and transducing extracellular signals, to mediating genetic responses, and sustaining or changing cell morphology. To manipulate these protein-protein interactions (PPIs) that govern the behavior and fate of cells, synthetically constructed, genetically encoded tools provide the means to precisely target proteins of interest (POIs), and control their subcellular localization and activity in vitro and in vivo. Ideal synthetic tools react to an orthogonal cue, i.e. a trigger that does not activate any other endogenous process, thereby allowing manipulation of the POI alone.
In optogenetics, naturally occurring photosensory domain from plants, algae and bacteria are re-purposed and genetically fused to POIs. Illumination with light of a specific wavelength triggers a conformational change that can mediate PPIs, such as dimerization or oligomerization. By using light as a trigger, these tools can be activated with high spatial and temporal precision, on subcellular and millisecond scales. Chemogenetic tools consist of protein domains that recognize and bind small molecules. By genetic fusion to POIs, these domains can mediate PPIs upon addition of their specific ligands, which are often synthetically designed to provide highly specific interactions and exhibit good bioavailability.
Most optogenetic tools to mediate PPIs are based on well-studied photoreceptors responding to red, blue or near-UV light, leaving a striking gap in the green band of the visible light spectrum. Among both optogenetic and chemogenetic tools, there is an abundance of methods to induce PPIs, but tools to disrupt them require UV illumination, rely on covalent linkage and subsequent enzymatic cleavage or initially result in protein clustering of unknown stoichiometry.
This work describes how the recently structurally and photochemically characterized green-light responsive cobalamin-binding domains (CBDs) from bacterial transcription factors were re-purposed to function as a green-light responsive optogenetic tool. In contrast to previously engineered optogenetic tools, CBDs do not induce PPI, but rather confer a PPI already upon expression, which can be rapidly disrupted by illumination. This was employed to mimic inhibition of constitutive activity of a growth factor receptor, and successfully implement for cell signalling in mammalian cells and in vivo to rescue development in zebrafish. This work further describes the development and application of a chemically induced de-dimerizer (CDD) based on a recently identified and structurally described bacterial oxyreductase. CDD forms a dimer upon expression in absence of its cofactor, the flavin derivative F420. Safety and of domain expression and ligand exposure are demonstrated in vitro and in vivo in zebrafish. The system is further applied to inhibit cell signalling output from a chimeric receptor upon F420 treatment.
CBDs and CDD expand the repertoire of synthetic tools by providing novel mechanisms of mediating PPIs, and by recognizing previously not utilized cues. In the future, they can readily be combined with existing synthetic tools to functionally manipulate PPIs in vitro and in vivo.},
author = {Kainrath, Stephanie},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {98},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Synthetic tools for optogenetic and chemogenetic inhibition of cellular signals}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:7680},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{7896,
abstract = {A search problem lies in the complexity class FNP if a solution to the given instance of the problem can be verified efficiently. The complexity class TFNP consists of all search problems in FNP that are total in the sense that a solution is guaranteed to exist. TFNP contains a host of interesting problems from fields such as algorithmic game theory, computational topology, number theory and combinatorics. Since TFNP is a semantic class, it is unlikely to have a complete problem. Instead, one studies its syntactic subclasses which are defined based on the combinatorial principle used to argue totality. Of particular interest is the subclass PPAD, which contains important problems
like computing Nash equilibrium for bimatrix games and computational counterparts of several fixed-point theorems as complete. In the thesis, we undertake the study of averagecase hardness of TFNP, and in particular its subclass PPAD.
Almost nothing was known about average-case hardness of PPAD before a series of recent results showed how to achieve it using a cryptographic primitive called program obfuscation.
However, it is currently not known how to construct program obfuscation from standard cryptographic assumptions. Therefore, it is desirable to relax the assumption under which average-case hardness of PPAD can be shown. In the thesis we take a step in this direction. First, we show that assuming the (average-case) hardness of a numbertheoretic
problem related to factoring of integers, which we call Iterated-Squaring, PPAD is hard-on-average in the random-oracle model. Then we strengthen this result to show that the average-case hardness of PPAD reduces to the (adaptive) soundness of the Fiat-Shamir Transform, a well-known technique used to compile a public-coin interactive protocol into a non-interactive one. As a corollary, we obtain average-case hardness for PPAD in the random-oracle model assuming the worst-case hardness of #SAT. Moreover, the above results can all be strengthened to obtain average-case hardness for the class CLS ⊆ PPAD.
Our main technical contribution is constructing incrementally-verifiable procedures for computing Iterated-Squaring and #SAT. By incrementally-verifiable, we mean that every intermediate state of the computation includes a proof of its correctness, and the proof can be updated and verified in polynomial time. Previous constructions of such procedures relied on strong, non-standard assumptions. Instead, we introduce a technique called recursive proof-merging to obtain the same from weaker assumptions. },
author = {Kamath Hosdurg, Chethan},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {126},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{On the average-case hardness of total search problems}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:7896},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{7944,
abstract = {This thesis considers two examples of reconfiguration problems: flipping edges in edge-labelled triangulations of planar point sets and swapping labelled tokens placed on vertices of a graph. In both cases the studied structures – all the triangulations of a given point set or all token placements on a given graph – can be thought of as vertices of the so-called reconfiguration graph, in which two vertices are adjacent if the corresponding structures differ by a single elementary operation – by a flip of a diagonal in a triangulation or by a swap of tokens on adjacent vertices, respectively. We study the reconfiguration of one instance of a structure into another via (shortest) paths in the reconfiguration graph.
For triangulations of point sets in which each edge has a unique label and a flip transfers the label from the removed edge to the new edge, we prove a polynomial-time testable condition, called the Orbit Theorem, that characterizes when two triangulations of the same point set lie in the same connected component of the reconfiguration graph. The condition was first conjectured by Bose, Lubiw, Pathak and Verdonschot. We additionally provide a polynomial time algorithm that computes a reconfiguring flip sequence, if it exists. Our proof of the Orbit Theorem uses topological properties of a certain high-dimensional cell complex that has the usual reconfiguration graph as its 1-skeleton.
In the context of token swapping on a tree graph, we make partial progress on the problem of finding shortest reconfiguration sequences. We disprove the so-called Happy Leaf Conjecture and demonstrate the importance of swapping tokens that are already placed at the correct vertices. We also prove that a generalization of the problem to weighted coloured token swapping is NP-hard on trees but solvable in polynomial time on paths and stars.},
author = {Masárová, Zuzana},
isbn = {978-3-99078-005-3},
issn = {2663-337X},
keywords = {reconfiguration, reconfiguration graph, triangulations, flip, constrained triangulations, shellability, piecewise-linear balls, token swapping, trees, coloured weighted token swapping},
pages = {160},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Reconfiguration problems}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:7944},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{8958,
abstract = {The oft-quoted dictum by Arthur Schawlow: ``A diatomic molecule has one atom too many'' has been disavowed. Inspired by the possibility to experimentally manipulate and enhance chemical reactivity in helium nanodroplets, we investigate the rotation of coupled cold molecules in the presence of a many-body environment.
In this thesis, we introduce new variational approaches to quantum impurities and apply them to the Fröhlich polaron - a quasiparticle formed out of an electron (or other point-like impurity) in a polar medium, and to the angulon - a quasiparticle formed out of a rotating molecule in a bosonic bath.
With this theoretical toolbox, we reveal the self-localization transition for the angulon quasiparticle. We show that, unlike for polarons, self-localization of angulons occurs at finite impurity-bath coupling already at the mean-field level. The transition is accompanied by the spherical-symmetry breaking of the angulon ground state and a discontinuity in the first derivative of the ground-state energy. Moreover, the type of symmetry breaking is dictated by the symmetry of the microscopic impurity-bath interaction, which leads to a number of distinct self-localized states.
For the system containing multiple impurities, by analogy with the bipolaron, we introduce the biangulon quasiparticle describing two rotating molecules that align with respect to each other due to the effective attractive interaction mediated by the excitations of the bath. We study this system from the strong-coupling regime to the weak molecule-bath interaction regime. We show that the molecules tend to have a strong alignment in the ground state, the biangulon shows shifted angulon instabilities and an additional spectral instability, where resonant angular momentum transfer between the molecules and the bath takes place. Finally, we introduce a diagonalization scheme that allows us to describe the transition from two separated angulons to a biangulon as a function of the distance between the two molecules.},
author = {Li, Xiang},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {125},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Rotation of coupled cold molecules in the presence of a many-body environment}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:8958},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{8983,
abstract = {Metabolic adaptation is a critical feature of migrating cells. It tunes the metabolic programs of migrating cells to allow them to efficiently exert their crucial roles in development, inflammatory responses and tumor metastasis. Cell migration through physically challenging contexts requires energy. However, how the metabolic reprogramming that underlies in vivo cell invasion is controlled is still unanswered. In my PhD project, I identify a novel conserved metabolic shift in Drosophila melanogaster immune cells that by modulating their bioenergetic potential controls developmentally programmed tissue invasion. We show that this regulation requires a novel conserved nuclear protein, named Atossa. Atossa enhances the transcription of a set of proteins, including an RNA helicase Porthos and two metabolic enzymes, each of which increases the tissue invasion of leading Drosophila macrophages and can rescue the atossa mutant phenotype. Porthos selectively regulates the translational efficiency of a subset of mRNAs containing a 5’-UTR cis-regulatory TOP-like sequence. These 5’TOPL mRNA targets encode mitochondrial-related proteins, including subunits of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) components III and V and other metabolic-related proteins. Porthos powers up mitochondrial OXPHOS to engender a sufficient ATP supply, which is required for tissue invasion of leading macrophages. Atossa’s two vertebrate orthologs rescue the invasion defect. In my PhD project, I elucidate that Atossa displays a conserved developmental metabolic control to modulate metabolic capacities and the cellular energy state, through altered transcription and translation, to aid the tissue infiltration of leading cells into energy demanding barriers.},
author = {Emtenani, Shamsi},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {141},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Metabolic regulation of Drosophila macrophage tissue invasion}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:8983},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{9397,
abstract = {Accumulation of interstitial fluid (IF) between embryonic cells is a common phenomenon in vertebrate embryogenesis. Unlike other model systems, where these accumulations coalesce into a large central cavity – the blastocoel, in zebrafish, IF is more uniformly distributed between the deep cells (DC) before the onset of gastrulation. This is likely due to the presence of a large extraembryonic structure – the yolk cell (YC) at the position where the blastocoel typically forms in other model organisms. IF has long been speculated to play a role in tissue morphogenesis during embryogenesis, but direct evidence supporting such function is still sparse. Here we show that the relocalization of IF to the interface between the YC and DC/epiblast is critical for axial mesendoderm (ME) cell protrusion formation and migration along this interface, a key process in embryonic axis formation. We further demonstrate that axial ME cell migration and IF relocalization engage in a positive feedback loop, where axial ME migration triggers IF accumulation ahead of the advancing axial ME tissue by mechanically compressing the overlying epiblast cell layer. Upon compression, locally induced flow relocalizes the IF through the porous epiblast tissue resulting in an IF accumulation ahead of the leading axial ME. This IF accumulation, in turn, promotes cell protrusion formation and migration of the leading axial ME cells, thereby facilitating axial ME extension. Our findings reveal a central role of dynamic IF relocalization in orchestrating germ layer morphogenesis during gastrulation.},
author = {Huljev, Karla},
pages = {101},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Coordinated spatiotemporal reorganization of interstitial fluid is required for axial mesendoderm migration in zebrafish gastrulation}},
doi = {10.15479/at:ista:9397},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{7525,
abstract = {The medial habenula (MHb) is an evolutionary conserved epithalamic structure important for the modulation of emotional memory. It is involved in regulation of anxiety, compulsive behavior, addiction (nicotinic and opioid), sexual and feeding behavior. MHb receives inputs from septal regions and projects exclusively to the interpeduncular nucleus (IPN). Distinct sub-regions of the septum project to different subnuclei of MHb: the bed nucleus of anterior commissure projects to dorsal MHb and the triangular septum projects to ventral MHb. Furthermore, the dorsal and ventral MHb project to the lateral and rostral/central IPN, respectively. Importantly, these projections have unique features of prominent co-release of different neurotransmitters and requirement of a peculiar type of calcium channel for release. In general, synaptic neurotransmission requires an activity-dependent influx of Ca2+ into the presynaptic terminal through voltage-gated calcium channels. The calcium channel family most commonly involved in neurotransmitter release comprises three members, P/Q-, N- and R-type with Cav2.1, Cav2.2 and Cav2.3 subunits, respectively. In contrast to most CNS synapses that mainly express Cav2.1 and/or Cav2.2, MHb terminals in the IPN exclusively express Cav2.3. In other parts of the brain, such as the hippocampus, Cav2.3 is mostly located to postsynaptic elements. This unusual presynaptic location of Cav2.3 in the MHb-IPN pathway implies unique mechanisms of glutamate release in this pathway. One potential example of such uniqueness is the facilitation of release by GABAB receptor (GBR) activation. Presynaptic GBRs usually inhibit the release of neurotransmitters by inhibiting presynaptic calcium channels. MHb shows the highest expression levels of GBR in the brain. GBRs comprise two subunits, GABAB1 (GB1) and GABAB2 (GB2), and are associated with auxiliary subunits, called potassium channel tetramerization domain containing proteins (KCTD) 8, 12, 12b and 16. Among these four subunits, KCTD12b is exclusively expressed in ventral MHb, and KCTD8 shows the strongest expression in the whole MHb among other brain regions, indicating that KCTD8 and KCTD12b may be involved in the unique mechanisms of neurotransmitter release mediated by Cav2.3 and regulated by GBRs in this pathway.
In the present study, we first verified that neurotransmission in both dorsal and ventral MHb-IPN pathways is mainly mediated by Cav2.3 using a selective blocker of R-type channels, SNX-482. We next found that baclofen, a GBR agonist, has facilitatory effects on release from ventral MHb terminal in rostral IPN, whereas it has inhibitory effects on release from dorsal MHb terminals in lateral IPN, indicating that KCTD12b expressed exclusively in ventral MHb may have a role in the facilitatory effects of GBR activation. In a heterologous expression system using HEK cells, we found that KCTD8 and KCTD12b but not KCTD12 directly bind with Cav2.3. Pre-embedding immunogold electron microscopy data show that Cav2.3 and KCTD12b are distributed most densely in presynaptic active zone in IPN with KCTD12b being present only in rostral/central but not lateral IPN, whereas GABAB, KCTD8 and KCTD12 are distributed most densely in perisynaptic sites with KCTD12 present more frequently in postsynaptic elements and only in rostral/central IPN. In freeze-fracture replica labelling, Cav2.3, KCTD8 and KCTD12b are co-localized with each other in the same active zone indicating that they may form complexes regulating vesicle release in rostral IPN.
On electrophysiological studies of wild type (WT) mice, we found that paired-pulse ratio in rostral IPN of KCTD12b knock-out (KO) mice is lower than those of WT and KCTD8 KO mice. Consistent with this finding, in mean variance analysis, release probability in rostral IPN of KCTD12b KO mice is higher than that of WT and KCTD8 KO mice. Although paired-pulse ratios are not different between WT and KCTD8 KO mice, the mean variance analysis revealed significantly lower release probability in rostral IPN of KCTD8 KO than WT mice. These results demonstrate bidirectional regulation of Cav2.3-mediated release by KCTD8 and KCTD12b without GBR activation in rostral IPN. Finally, we examined the baclofen effects in rostral IPN of KCTD8 and KCTD12b KO mice, and found the facilitation of release remained in both KO mice, indicating that the peculiar effects of the GBR activation in this pathway do not depend on the selective expression of these KCTD subunits in ventral MHb. However, we found that presynaptic potentiation of evoked EPSC amplitude by baclofen falls to baseline after washout faster in KCTD12b KO mice than WT, KCTD8 KO and KCTD8/12b double KO mice. This result indicates that KCTD12b is involved in sustained potentiation of vesicle release by GBR activation, whereas KCTD8 is involved in its termination in the absence of KCTD12b. Consistent with these functional findings, replica labelling revealed an increase in density of KCTD8, but not Cav2.3 or GBR at active zone in rostral IPN of KCTD12b KO mice compared with that of WT mice, suggesting that increased association of KCTD8 with Cav2.3 facilitates the release probability and termination of the GBR effect in the absence of KCTD12b.
In summary, our study provided new insights into the physiological roles of presynaptic Cav2.3, GBRs and their auxiliary subunits KCTDs at an evolutionary conserved neuronal circuit. Future studies will be required to identify the exact molecular mechanism underlying the GBR-mediated presynaptic potentiation on ventral MHb terminals. It remains to be determined whether the prominent presence of presynaptic KCTDs at active zone could exert similar neuromodulatory functions in different pathways of the brain.
},
author = {Bhandari, Pradeep},
issn = {2663-337X},
keywords = {Cav2.3, medial habenula (MHb), interpeduncular nucleus (IPN)},
pages = {79},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Localization and functional role of Cav2.3 in the medial habenula to interpeduncular nucleus pathway}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:7525},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{7902,
abstract = {Mosaic genetic analysis has been widely used in different model organisms such as the fruit fly to study gene-function in a cell-autonomous or tissue-specific fashion. More recently, and less easily conducted, mosaic genetic analysis in mice has also been enabled with the ambition to shed light on human gene function and disease. These genetic tools are of particular interest, but not restricted to, the study of the brain. Notably, the MADM technology offers a genetic approach in mice to visualize and concomitantly manipulate small subsets of genetically defined cells at a clonal level and single cell resolution. MADM-based analysis has already advanced the study of genetic mechanisms regulating brain development and is expected that further MADM-based analysis of genetic alterations will continue to reveal important insights on the fundamental principles of development and disease to potentially assist in the development of new therapies or treatments.
In summary, this work completed and characterized the necessary genome-wide genetic tools to perform MADM-based analysis at single cell level of the vast majority of mouse genes in virtually any cell type and provided a protocol to perform lineage tracing using the novel MADM resource. Importantly, this work also explored and revealed novel aspects of biologically relevant events in an in vivo context, such as the chromosome-specific bias of chromatid sister segregation pattern, the generation of cell-type diversity in the cerebral cortex and in the cerebellum and finally, the relevance of the interplay between the cell-autonomous gene function and cell-non-autonomous (community) effects in radial glial progenitor lineage progression.
This work provides a foundation and opens the door to further elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying neuronal diversity and astrocyte generation.},
author = {Contreras, Ximena},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {214},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Genetic dissection of neural development in health and disease at single cell resolution}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:7902},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{7258,
abstract = {Many flows encountered in nature and applications are characterized by a chaotic motion known as turbulence. Turbulent flows generate intense friction with pipe walls and are responsible for considerable amounts of energy losses at world scale. The nature of turbulent friction and techniques aimed at reducing it have been subject of extensive research over the last century, but no definite answer has been found yet. In this thesis we show that in pipes at moderate turbulent Reynolds numbers friction is better described by the power law first introduced by Blasius and not by the Prandtl–von Kármán formula. At higher Reynolds numbers, large scale motions gradually become more important in the flow and can be related to the change in scaling of friction. Next, we present a series of new techniques that can relaminarize turbulence by suppressing a key mechanism that regenerates it at walls, the lift–up effect. In addition, we investigate the process of turbulence decay in several experiments and discuss the drag reduction potential. Finally, we examine the behavior of friction under pulsating conditions inspired by the human heart cycle and we show that under such circumstances turbulent friction can be reduced to produce energy savings.},
author = {Scarselli, Davide},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {174},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{New approaches to reduce friction in turbulent pipe flow}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:7258},
year = {2020},
}
@phdthesis{7172,
abstract = {The development and growth of Arabidopsis thaliana is regulated by a combination of genetic programing and also by the environmental influences. An important role in these processes play the phytohormones and among them, auxin is crucial as it controls many important functions. It is transported through the whole plant body by creating local and temporal concentration maxima and minima, which have an impact on the cell status, tissue and organ identity. Auxin has the property to undergo a directional and finely regulated cell-to-cell transport, which is enabled by the transport proteins, localized on the plasma membrane. An important role in this process have the PIN auxin efflux proteins, which have an asymmetric/polar subcellular localization and determine the directionality of the auxin transport. During the last years, there were significant advances in understanding how the trafficking molecular machineries function, including studies on molecular interactions, function, subcellular localization and intracellular distribution. However, there is still a lack of detailed characterization on the steps of endocytosis, exocytosis, endocytic recycling and degradation. Due to this fact, I focused on the identification of novel trafficking factors and better characterization of the intracellular trafficking pathways. My PhD thesis consists of an introductory chapter, three experimental chapters, a chapter containing general discussion, conclusions and perspectives and also an appendix chapter with published collaborative papers.
The first chapter is separated in two different parts: I start by a general introduction to auxin biology and then I introduce the trafficking pathways in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Then, I explain also the phosphorylation-signals for polar targeting and also the roles of the phytohormone strigolactone.
The second chapter includes the characterization of bar1/sacsin mutant, which was identified in a forward genetic screen for novel trafficking components in Arabidopsis thaliana, where by the implementation of an EMS-treated pPIN1::PIN1-GFP marker line and by using the established inhibitor of ARF-GEFs, Brefeldin A (BFA) as a tool to study trafficking processes, we identified a novel factor, which is mediating the adaptation of the plant cell to ARF-GEF inhibition. The mutation is in a previously uncharacterized gene, encoding a very big protein that we, based on its homologies, called SACSIN with domains suggesting roles as a molecular chaperon or as a component of the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Our physiology and imaging studies revealed that SACSIN is a crucial plant cell component of the adaptation to the ARF-GEF inhibition.
The third chapter includes six subchapters, where I focus on the role of the phytohormone strigolactone, which interferes with auxin feedback on PIN internalization. Strigolactone moderates the polar auxin transport by increasing the internalization of the PIN auxin efflux carriers, which reduces the canalization related growth responses. In addition, I also studied the role of phosphorylation in the strigolactone regulation of auxin feedback on PIN internalization. In this chapter I also present my results on the MAX2-dependence of strigolactone-mediated root growth inhibition and I also share my results on the auxin metabolomics profiling after application of GR24.
In the fourth chapter I studied the effect of two small molecules ES-9 and ES9-17, which were identified from a collection of small molecules with the property to impair the clathrin-mediated endocytosis.
In the fifth chapter, I discuss all my observations and experimental findings and suggest alternative hypothesis to interpret my results.
In the appendix there are three collaborative published projects. In the first, I participated in the characterization of the role of ES9 as a small molecule, which is inhibitor of clathrin- mediated endocytosis in different model organisms. In the second paper, I contributed to the characterization of another small molecule ES9-17, which is a non-protonophoric analog of ES9 and also impairs the clathrin-mediated endocytosis not only in plant cells, but also in mammalian HeLa cells. Last but not least, I also attach another paper, where I tried to establish the grafting method as a technique in our lab to study canalization related processes.},
author = {Vasileva, Mina K},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {192},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Molecular mechanisms of endomembrane trafficking in Arabidopsis thaliana}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:7172},
year = {2019},
}
@phdthesis{7186,
abstract = {Tissue morphogenesis in developmental or physiological processes is regulated by molecular
and mechanical signals. While the molecular signaling cascades are increasingly well
described, the mechanical signals affecting tissue shape changes have only recently been
studied in greater detail. To gain more insight into the mechanochemical and biophysical
basis of an epithelial spreading process (epiboly) in early zebrafish development, we studied
cell-cell junction formation and actomyosin network dynamics at the boundary between
surface layer epithelial cells (EVL) and the yolk syncytial layer (YSL). During zebrafish epiboly,
the cell mass sitting on top of the yolk cell spreads to engulf the yolk cell by the end of
gastrulation. It has been previously shown that an actomyosin ring residing within the YSL
pulls on the EVL tissue through a cable-constriction and a flow-friction motor, thereby
dragging the tissue vegetal wards. Pulling forces are likely transmitted from the YSL
actomyosin ring to EVL cells; however, the nature and formation of the junctional structure
mediating this process has not been well described so far. Therefore, our main aim was to
determine the nature, dynamics and potential function of the EVL-YSL junction during this
epithelial tissue spreading. Specifically, we show that the EVL-YSL junction is a
mechanosensitive structure, predominantly made of tight junction (TJ) proteins. The process
of TJ mechanosensation depends on the retrograde flow of non-junctional, phase-separated
Zonula Occludens-1 (ZO-1) protein clusters towards the EVL-YSL boundary. Interestingly, we
could demonstrate that ZO-1 is present in a non-junctional pool on the surface of the yolk
cell, and ZO-1 undergoes a phase separation process that likely renders the protein
responsive to flows. These flows are directed towards the junction and mediate proper
tension-dependent recruitment of ZO-1. Upon reaching the EVL-YSL junction ZO-1 gets
incorporated into the junctional pool mediated through its direct actin-binding domain.
When the non-junctional pool and/or ZO-1 direct actin binding is absent, TJs fail in their
proper mechanosensitive responses resulting in slower tissue spreading. We could further
demonstrate that depletion of ZO proteins within the YSL results in diminished actomyosin
ring formation. This suggests that a mechanochemical feedback loop is at work during
zebrafish epiboly: ZO proteins help in proper actomyosin ring formation and actomyosin
contractility and flows positively influence ZO-1 junctional recruitment. Finally, such a
mesoscale polarization process mediated through the flow of phase-separated protein
clusters might have implications for other processes such as immunological synapse
formation, C. elegans zygote polarization and wound healing.},
author = {Schwayer, Cornelia},
issn = {2663-337X},
pages = {107},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Mechanosensation of tight junctions depends on ZO-1 phase separation and flow}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:7186},
year = {2019},
}
@phdthesis{6071,
abstract = {Transcription factors, by binding to specific sequences on the DNA, control the precise spatio-temporal expression of genes inside a cell. However, this specificity is limited, leading to frequent incorrect binding of transcription factors that might have deleterious consequences on the cell. By constructing a biophysical model of TF-DNA binding in the context of gene regulation, I will first explore how regulatory constraints can strongly shape the distribution of a population in sequence space. Then, by directly linking this to a picture of multiple types of transcription factors performing their functions simultaneously inside the cell, I will explore the extent of regulatory crosstalk -- incorrect binding interactions between transcription factors and binding sites that lead to erroneous regulatory states -- and understand the constraints this places on the design of regulatory systems. I will then develop a generic theoretical framework to investigate the coevolution of multiple transcription factors and multiple binding sites, in the context of a gene regulatory network that performs a certain function. As a particular tractable version of this problem, I will consider the evolution of two transcription factors when they transmit upstream signals to downstream target genes. Specifically, I will describe the evolutionary steady states and the evolutionary pathways involved, along with their timescales, of a system that initially undergoes a transcription factor duplication event. To connect this important theoretical model to the prominent biological event of transcription factor duplication giving rise to paralogous families, I will then describe a bioinformatics analysis of C2H2 Zn-finger transcription factors, a major family in humans, and focus on the patterns of evolution that paralogs have undergone in their various protein domains in the recent past. },
author = {Prizak, Roshan},
pages = {189},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{Coevolution of transcription factors and their binding sites in sequence space}},
doi = {10.15479/at:ista:th6071},
year = {2019},
}
@phdthesis{6179,
abstract = {In the first part of this thesis we consider large random matrices with arbitrary expectation and a general slowly decaying correlation among its entries. We prove universality of the local eigenvalue statistics and optimal local laws for the resolvent in the bulk and edge regime. The main novel tool is a systematic diagrammatic control of a multivariate cumulant expansion.
In the second part we consider Wigner-type matrices and show that at any cusp singularity of the limiting eigenvalue distribution the local eigenvalue statistics are uni- versal and form a Pearcey process. Since the density of states typically exhibits only square root or cubic root cusp singularities, our work complements previous results on the bulk and edge universality and it thus completes the resolution of the Wigner- Dyson-Mehta universality conjecture for the last remaining universality type. Our analysis holds not only for exact cusps, but approximate cusps as well, where an ex- tended Pearcey process emerges. As a main technical ingredient we prove an optimal local law at the cusp, and extend the fast relaxation to equilibrium of the Dyson Brow- nian motion to the cusp regime.
In the third and final part we explore the entrywise linear statistics of Wigner ma- trices and identify the fluctuations for a large class of test functions with little regularity. This enables us to study the rectangular Young diagram obtained from the interlacing eigenvalues of the random matrix and its minor, and we find that, despite having the same limit, the fluctuations differ from those of the algebraic Young tableaux equipped with the Plancharel measure.},
author = {Schröder, Dominik J},
pages = {375},
publisher = {IST Austria},
title = {{From Dyson to Pearcey: Universal statistics in random matrix theory}},
doi = {10.15479/AT:ISTA:th6179},
year = {2019},
}