Constraint-based network model of pathogen-immune system interactions

Juilee Thakar, Assieh Saadatpour-Moghaddam, Eric T. Harvill, Réka Albert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Pathogenic bacteria such as Bordetella bronchiseptica modulate host immune responses to enable their establishment and persistence; however, the immune response is generally successful in clearing these bacteria. Here, we model the dynamic outcome of the interplay between host immune components and B. bronchiseptica virulence factors. The model extends our previously published interaction network of B. bronchiseptica and includes the existing experimental information on the relative timing of IL10 and IFNg activation in the form of qualitative inequalities. The current model improves the previous one in two directions: (i) by augmenting the network with new nodes with specific function in T helper cell differentiation and effector mechanisms and (ii) by using a dynamic approach that allows us to quantify node states and mechanisms revealed to be important from our previous model. The model makes predictions about the time scales of each process, the activity thresholds of each node and novel regulatory interactions. For example, the model predicts that the activity threshold of IL4 is higher than that of IL12 and that pro-inflammatory cytokines regulate the activity of Th2 cells. Some of these predictions are supported by the literature, and many can serve as targets of future experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-612
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number36
StatePublished - Jul 6 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering


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