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Melas I.N.,U.S. Food and Drug Administration | Sakellaropoulos T.,National Technical University of Athens | Iorio F.,European Bioinformatics Institute | Alexopoulos L.G.,National Technical University of Athens | And 5 more authors.
Integrative Biology (United Kingdom) | Year: 2015

Identification of signaling pathways that are functional in a specific biological context is a major challenge in systems biology, and could be instrumental to the study of complex diseases and various aspects of drug discovery. Recent approaches have attempted to combine gene expression data with prior knowledge of protein connectivity in the form of a PPI network, and employ computational methods to identify subsets of the protein-protein-interaction (PPI) network that are functional, based on the data at hand. However, the use of undirected networks limits the mechanistic insight that can be drawn, since it does not allow for following mechanistically signal transduction from one node to the next. To address this important issue, we used a directed, signaling network as a scaffold to represent protein connectivity, and implemented an Integer Linear Programming (ILP) formulation to model the rules of signal transduction from one node to the next in the network. We then optimized the structure of the network to best fit the gene expression data at hand. We illustrated the utility of ILP modeling with a case study of drug induced lung injury. We identified the modes of action of 200 lung toxic drugs based on their gene expression profiles and, subsequently, merged the drug specific pathways to construct a signaling network that captured the mechanisms underlying Drug Induced Lung Disease (DILD). We further demonstrated the predictive power and biological relevance of the DILD network by applying it to identify drugs with relevant pharmacological mechanisms for treating lung injury. © The Royal Society of Chemistry.


Michailidou M.,National and Kapodistrian University of Athens | Melas I.N.,National Technical University of Athens | Messinis D.E.,ProtATonce Ltd | Klamt S.,Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems | And 3 more authors.
CPT: Pharmacometrics and Systems Pharmacology | Year: 2015

Chronic inflammation is associated with the development of human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), an essentially incurable cancer. Anti-inflammatory nutraceuticals have emerged as promising candidates against HCC, yet the mechanisms through which they influence the cell signaling machinery to impose phenotypic changes remain unresolved. Herein we implemented a systems biology approach in HCC cells, based on the integration of cytokine release and phospoproteomic data from high-throughput xMAP Luminex assays to elucidate the action mode of prominent nutraceuticals in terms of topology alterations of HCC-specific signaling networks. An optimization algorithm based on SigNetTrainer, an Integer Linear Programming formulation, was applied to construct networks linking signal transduction to cytokine secretion by combining prior knowledge of protein connectivity with proteomic data. Our analysis identified the most probable target phosphoproteins of interrogated compounds and predicted translational control as a new mechanism underlying their anticytokine action. Induced alterations corroborated with inhibition of HCC-driven angiogenesis and metastasis. © 2015 The Authors CPT: Pharmacometrics & Systems Pharmacology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.


Melas I.N.,National Technical University of Athens | Melas I.N.,Protatonce Ltd. | Chairakaki A.D.,National Technical University of Athens | Chairakaki A.D.,Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens | And 10 more authors.
Osteoarthritis and Cartilage | Year: 2014

Objective: Chondrocyte signaling is widely identified as a key component in cartilage homeostasis. Dysregulations of the signaling processes in chondrocytes often result in degenerative diseases of the tissue. Traditionally, the literature has focused on the study of major players in chondrocyte signaling, but without considering the cross-talks between them. In this paper, we systematically interrogate the signal transduction pathways in chondrocytes, on both the phosphoproteomic and cytokine release levels. Methods: The signaling pathways downstream 78 receptors of interest are interrogated. On the phosphoproteomic level, 17 key phosphoproteins are measured upon stimulation with single treatments of 78 ligands. On the cytokine release level, 55 cytokines are measured in the supernatant upon stimulation with the same treatments. Using an Integer Linear Programming (ILP) formulation, the proteomic data is combined with a priori knowledge of proteins' connectivity to construct a mechanistic model, predictive of signal transduction in chondrocytes. Results: We were able to validate previous findings regarding major players of cartilage homeostasis and inflammation (e.g., IL1B, TNF, EGF, TGFA, INS, IGF1 and IL6). Moreover, we studied pro-inflammatory mediators (IL1B and TNF) together with pro-growth signals for investigating their role in chondrocytes hypertrophy and highlighted the role of underreported players such as Inhibin beta A (INHBA), Defensin beta 1 (DEFB1), CXCL1 and Flagellin, and uncovered the way they cross-react in the phosphoproteomic level. Conclusions: The analysis presented herein, leveraged high throughput proteomic data via an ILP formulation to gain new insight into chondrocytes signaling and the pathophysiology of degenerative diseases in articular cartilage. © 2014 Osteoarthritis Research Society International.


Kotelnikova E.,Hospital Clinic of Barcelona | Kotelnikova E.,Russian Academy of Sciences | Bernardo-Faura M.,European Bioinformatics Institute | Silberberg G.,Karolinska University Hospital | And 19 more authors.
Multiple Sclerosis Journal | Year: 2015

The pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS) involves alterations to multiple pathways and processes, which represent a significant challenge for developing more-effective therapies. Systems biology approaches that study pathway dysregulation should offer benefits by integrating molecular networks and dynamic models with current biological knowledge for understanding disease heterogeneity and response to therapy. In MS, abnormalities have been identified in several cytokine-signaling pathways, as well as those of other immune receptors. Among the downstream molecules implicated are Jak/Stat, NF-Kb, ERK1/3, p38 or Jun/Fos. Together, these data suggest that MS is likely to be associated with abnormalities in apoptosis/cell death, microglia activation, blood-brain barrier functioning, immune responses, cytokine production, and/or oxidative stress, although which pathways contribute to the cascade of damage and can be modulated remains an open question. While current MS drugs target some of these pathways, others remain untouched. Here, we propose a pragmatic systems analysis approach that involves the large-scale extraction of processes and pathways relevant to MS. These data serve as a scaffold on which computational modeling can be performed to identify disease subgroups based on the contribution of different processes. Such an analysis, targeting these relevant MS-signaling pathways, offers the opportunity to accelerate the development of novel individual or combination therapies. © The Author(s), 2014.


PubMed | Bionure Farma SL, ProtATonce Ltd, University of Zürich, Charité - Medical University of Berlin and 6 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Multiple sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England) | Year: 2015

The pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS) involves alterations to multiple pathways and processes, which represent a significant challenge for developing more-effective therapies. Systems biology approaches that study pathway dysregulation should offer benefits by integrating molecular networks and dynamic models with current biological knowledge for understanding disease heterogeneity and response to therapy. In MS, abnormalities have been identified in several cytokine-signaling pathways, as well as those of other immune receptors. Among the downstream molecules implicated are Jak/Stat, NF-Kb, ERK1/3, p38 or Jun/Fos. Together, these data suggest that MS is likely to be associated with abnormalities in apoptosis/cell death, microglia activation, blood-brain barrier functioning, immune responses, cytokine production, and/or oxidative stress, although which pathways contribute to the cascade of damage and can be modulated remains an open question. While current MS drugs target some of these pathways, others remain untouched. Here, we propose a pragmatic systems analysis approach that involves the large-scale extraction of processes and pathways relevant to MS. These data serve as a scaffold on which computational modeling can be performed to identify disease subgroups based on the contribution of different processes. Such an analysis, targeting these relevant MS-signaling pathways, offers the opportunity to accelerate the development of novel individual or combination therapies.


Melas I.N.,National Technical University of Athens | Melas I.N.,ProtATonce Ltd. | Lauffenburger D.A.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Lauffenburger D.A.,Harvard University | And 2 more authors.
13th IEEE International Conference on BioInformatics and BioEngineering, IEEE BIBE 2013 | Year: 2013

Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC) is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, with only a handful of treatments effective in unresectable HCC. Most of the clinical trials for HCC using new generation interventions (drug-targeted therapies) have poor efficacy whereas just a few of them show some promising clinical outcomes [1]. This is amongst the first studies where the mode of action of some of the compounds extensively used in clinical trials is interrogated on the phosphoproteomic level, in an attempt to build predictive models for clinical efficacy. Signaling data are combined with previously published gene expression and clinical data within a consistent framework that identifies drug effects on the phosphoproteomic level and translates them to the gene expression level. The interrogated drugs are then correlated with genes differentially expressed in normal versus tumor tissue, and genes predictive of patient survival. Although the number of clinical trial results considered is small, our approach shows potential for discerning signaling activities that may help predict drug efficacy for HCC. © 2013 IEEE.


Bilal E.,IBM | Sakellaropoulos T.,ProtATonce Ltd | Sakellaropoulos T.,National Technical University of Athens | Participantsz C.,IBM | And 17 more authors.
Bioinformatics | Year: 2015

Motivation: Animal models are important tools in drug discovery and for understanding human biology in general. However, many drugs that initially show promising results in rodents fail in later stages of clinical trials. Understanding the commonalities and differences between human and rat cell signaling networks can lead to better experimental designs, improved allocation of resources and ultimately better drugs. Results: The sbv IMPROVER Species-Specific Network Inference challenge was designed to use the power of the crowds to build two species-specific cell signaling networks given phosphoproteomics, transcriptomics and cytokine data generated from NHBE and NRBE cells exposed to various stimuli. A common literature-inspired reference network with 220 nodes and 501 edges was also provided as prior knowledge from which challenge participants could add or remove edges but not nodes. Such a large network inference challenge not based on synthetic simulations but on real data presented unique difficulties in scoring and interpreting the results. Because any prior knowledge about the networks was already provided to the participants for reference, novel ways for scoring and aggregating the results were developed. Two human and rat consensus networks were obtained by combining all the inferred networks. Further analysis showed that major signaling pathways were conserved between the two species with only isolated components diverging, as in the case of ribosomal S6 kinase RPS6KA1. Overall, the consensus between inferred edges was relatively high with the exception of the downstream targets of transcription factors, which seemed more difficult to predict. © 2014 The Author.


Rhrissorrakrai K.,IBM | Belcastro V.,Philip Morris Products S.A. | Belcastro V.,Telethon Institute of Genetics and Medicine | Bilal E.,IBM | And 12 more authors.
Bioinformatics | Year: 2015

Motivation: Inferring how humans respond to external cues such as drugs, chemicals, viruses or hormones is an essential question in biomedicine. Very often, however, this question cannot be addressed because it is not possible to perform experiments in humans. A reasonable alternative consists of generating responses in animal models and 'translating' those results to humans. The limitations of such translation, however, are far from clear, and systematic assessments of its actual potential are urgently needed. sbv IMPROVER (systems biology verification for Industrial Methodology for PROcess VErification in Research) was designed as a series of challenges to address translatability between humans and rodents. This collaborative crowd-sourcing initiative invited scientists from around the world to apply their own computational methodologies on a multilayer systems biology dataset composed of phosphoproteomics, transcriptomics and cytokine data derived from normal human and rat bronchial epithelial cells exposed in parallel to 52 different stimuli under identical conditions. Our aim was to understand the limits of species-to-species translatability at different levels of biological organization: signaling, transcriptional and release of secreted factors (such as cytokines). Participating teams submitted 49 different solutions across the sub-challenges, two-thirds of which were statistically significantly better than random. Additionally, similar computational methods were found to range widely in their performance within the same challenge, and no single method emerged as a clear winner across all sub-challenges. Finally, computational methods were able to effectively translate some specific stimuli and biological processes in the lung epithelial system, such as DNA synthesis, cytoskeleton and extracellular matrix, translation, immune/inflammation and growth factor/proliferation pathways, better than the expected response similarity between species. © 2014 The Author.


Melas I.N.,National Technical University of Athens | Melas I.N.,Protatonce Ltd | Kretsos K.,UCB Pharma | Alexopoulos L.G.,National Technical University of Athens | Alexopoulos L.G.,Protatonce Ltd
Biopharmaceutics and Drug Disposition | Year: 2013

Computational modeling has been adopted in all aspects of drug research and development, from the early phases of target identification and drug discovery to the late-stage clinical trials. The different questions addressed during each stage of drug R&D has led to the emergence of different modeling methodologies. In the research phase, systems biology couples experimental data with elaborate computational modeling techniques to capture lifecycle and effector cellular functions (e.g. metabolism, signaling, transcription regulation, protein synthesis and interaction) and integrates them in quantitative models. These models are subsequently used in various ways, i.e. to identify new targets, generate testable hypotheses, gain insights on the drug's mode of action (MOA), translate preclinical findings, and assess the potential of clinical drug efficacy and toxicity. In the development phase, pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) modeling is the established way to determine safe and efficacious doses for testing at increasingly larger, and more pertinent to the target indication, cohorts of subjects. First, the relationship between drug input and its concentration in plasma is established. Second, the relationship between this concentration and desired or undesired PD responses is ascertained. Recognizing that the interface of systems biology with PK/PD will facilitate drug development, systems pharmacology came into existence, combining methods from PK/PD modeling and systems engineering explicitly to account for the implicated mechanisms of the target system in the study of drug-target interactions. Herein, a number of popular system biology methodologies are discussed, which could be leveraged within a systems pharmacology framework to address major issues in drug development. © 2013 The Authors. Biopharmaceutics & Drug Disposition published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. © 2013 The Authors. Biopharmaceutics & Drug Disposition published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Morris M.K.,Merck And Co. | Chi A.,Merck And Co. | Melas I.N.,ProtATonce Ltd | Melas I.N.,National Technical University of Athens | And 2 more authors.
Drug Discovery Today | Year: 2014

Several important aspects of the drug discovery process, including target identification, mechanism of action determination and biomarker identification as well as drug repositioning, require complete understanding of the effects of drugs on protein phosphorylation in relevant biological systems. Novel high-throughput phosphoproteomic technologies can be employed to measure these phosphorylation events. In this review, we describe the advantages and limitations of state-of-the-art phosphoproteomic approaches such as mass spectrometry and antibody-based technologies in terms of sample and data throughput as well as data quality. We then discuss how datasets from each technology can be analyzed and how the results can be and have been applied to advance different aspects of the drug discovery process. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

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