Random search is a behavioral strategy used by organisms from bacteria to humans to locate food that is randomly distributed and undetectable at a distance. We investigated this behavior in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, an organism with a small, well-described nervous system. Here we formulate a mathematical model of random search abstracted from the C. elegans connectome and fit to a large-scale kinematic analysis of C. elegans behavior at submicron resolution. The model predicts behavioral effects of neuronal ablations and genetic perturbations, as well as unexpected aspects of wild type behavior. The predictive success of the model indicates that random search in C. elegans can be understood in terms of a neuronal flip-flop circuit involving reciprocal inhibition between two populations of stochastic neurons. Our findings establish a unified theoretical framework for understanding C. elegans locomotion and a testable neuronal model of random search that can be applied to other organisms.
- Ronald L Calabrese, Emory University, United States
© 2016, Roberts et al.
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Biomedical single-cell atlases describe disease at the cellular level. However, analysis of this data commonly focuses on cell-type centric pairwise cross-condition comparisons, disregarding the multicellular nature of disease processes. Here we propose multicellular factor analysis for the unsupervised analysis of samples from cross-condition single-cell atlases and the identification of multicellular programs associated with disease. Our strategy, which repurposes group factor analysis as implemented in multi-omics factor analysis, incorporates the variation of patient samples across cell-types or other tissue-centric features, such as cell compositions or spatial relationships, and enables the joint analysis of multiple patient cohorts, facilitating the integration of atlases. We applied our framework to a collection of acute and chronic human heart failure atlases and described multicellular processes of cardiac remodeling, independent to cellular compositions and their local organization, that were conserved in independent spatial and bulk transcriptomics datasets. In sum, our framework serves as an exploratory tool for unsupervised analysis of cross-condition single-cell atlases and allows for the integration of the measurements of patient cohorts across distinct data modalities.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancer types with poor treatment options. Better detection of early symptoms and relevant disease correlations could improve pancreatic cancer prognosis. In this retrospective study, we used symptom and disease codes (ICD-10) from the Danish National Patient Registry (NPR) encompassing 6.9 million patients from 1994 to 2018,, of whom 23,592 were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The Danish cancer registry included 18,523 of these patients. To complement and compare the registry diagnosis codes with deeper clinical data, we used a text mining approach to extract symptoms from free text clinical notes in electronic health records (3078 pancreatic cancer patients and 30,780 controls). We used both data sources to generate and compare symptom disease trajectories to uncover temporal patterns of symptoms prior to pancreatic cancer diagnosis for the same patients. We show that the text mining of the clinical notes was able to complement the registry-based symptoms by capturing more symptoms prior to pancreatic cancer diagnosis. For example, ‘Blood pressure reading without diagnosis’, ‘Abnormalities of heartbeat’, and ‘Intestinal obstruction’ were not found for the registry-based analysis. Chaining symptoms together in trajectories identified two groups of patients with lower median survival (<90 days) following the trajectories ‘Cough→Jaundice→Intestinal obstruction’ and ‘Pain→Jaundice→Abnormal results of function studies’. These results provide a comprehensive comparison of the two types of pancreatic cancer symptom trajectories, which in combination can leverage the full potential of the health data and ultimately provide a fuller picture for detection of early risk factors for pancreatic cancer.