Linear models for endocytic transformations from live cell imaging


  • John A. Belward
  • Kevin Burrage
  • Rohan D. Teasdale
  • Nicholas A. Hamilton



differential equation, parameter fitting, chemical reaction, endocytosis, video-microscopy


Endocytosis is the process by which cells internalise molecules including nutrient proteins from the extracellular media. In one form, macropinocytosis, the membrane at the cell surface ruffles and folds over to give rise to an internalised vesicle. Negatively charged phospholipids within the membrane called phosphoinositides then undergo a series of transformations that are critical for the correct trafficking of the vesicle within the cell, and which are often pirated by pathogens such as Salmonella. Advanced fluorescent video microscopy imaging now allows the detailed observation and quantification of these events in live cells over time. Here we use these observations as a basis for building differential equation models of the transformations. An initial investigation of these interactions was modelled with reaction rates proportional to the sum of the concentrations of the individual constituents. A first order linear system for the concentrations results. The structure of the system enables analytical expressions to be obtained and the problem becomes one of determining the reaction rates which generate the observed data plots. We present results with reaction rates which capture the general behaviour of the reactions so that we now have a complete mathematical model of phosphoinositide transformations that fits the experimental observations. Some excellent fits are obtained with modulated exponential functions; however, these are not solutions of the linear system. The question arises as to how the model may be modified to obtain a system whose solution provides a more accurate fit. References
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