Collective Sensing and Behavior in Pancreatic Islets
Lecturer: Professor Marjan Slak Rupnik, Medical University of Vienna, Center for physiology and pharmacology, Institute of Physiology
Major part of a pancreatic islet is composed of beta cells that secrete insulin, a key hormone regulating influx of nutrients into all cells in a vertebrate organism to support nutrition, housekeeping or energy storage. Beta cells constantly communicate with each other using both direct, short-range interactions through gap junctions, and paracrine long-range signaling. However, to what extent each of these cell-cell interactions shape collective sensing and cell behavior in islets that leads to insulin release is largely unknown. The functional multicellular imaging (fMCI) records a full temporal activity trace for every cell in an optical plane of an islet from which meaningful quantitative statements about the dynamics of unitary Ca2+ responses and information flow in the beta cell collective are possible. I will present how computational methods from network analyses, spin glass model to random matrix theory form valuable tools to extract the mechanisms underlying collective sensing and behavior of beta cells in pancreatic islets.
Christina Bark, Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery