Mathematical modelling of fluid transport and its regulation at multiple scales


Living matter equals water, to a first approximation, and water transport across barriers such as membranes and epithelia is vital. Water serves two competing functions. On the one hand, it is the fundamental solvent enabling random mobility of solutes and therefore biochemical reactions and intracellular signal propagation. Homeostasis of the intracellular water volume is required such that messenger concentration encodes the stimulus and not inverse volume fluctuations. On the other hand, water flow is needed for transport of solutes to and away from cells in a directed manner, threatening volume homeostasis and signal transduction fidelity of cells. Feedback regulation of fluid transport reconciles these competing objectives. The regulatory mechanisms often span across multiple spatial scales from cellular interactions up to the architecture of organs. Open questions relate to the dependency of water fluxes and steady state volumes on control parameters and stimuli. We here review selected mathematical models of feedback regulation of fluid transport at the cell scale and identify a general “core–shell” structure of such models. We propose that fluid transport models at other spatial scales can be constructed in a generalised core–shell framework, in which the core accounts for the biophysical effects of fluid transport whilst the shell reflects the regulatory mechanisms. We demonstrate the applicability of this framework for tissue lumen growth and suggest future experiments in zebrafish to test lumen size regulation mechanisms.


Projects: A3.3: Hepatocyte polarity, A3.5: The impact of cell polarity on metabolism detoxification and endoc..., Showcase LIAM (Liver Image Analysis Based Model)

Biosystems 130 : 1
1st Apr 2015

Osvaldo Chara, Lutz Brusch

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[Lutz Brusch]

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Cell and Liver lobule
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  • Created: 30th Apr 2015 at 15:04
  • Last updated: 30th Apr 2015 at 15:08

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