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Solving the puzzle of Fe homeostasis by integrating molecular, mathematical, and societal models...

by Charles Hodgens, Belinda S Akpa, Terri Long
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Current Opinion in Plant Biology
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To ensure optimal utilization and bioavailability, iron uptake, transport, subcellular localization, and assimilation are tightly regulated in plants. Herein, we examine recent advances in our understanding of cellular responses to Fe deficiency. We then use intracellular mechanisms of Fe homeostasis to discuss how formalizing cell biology knowledge via a mathematical model can advance discovery even when quantitative data is limited. Using simulation-based inference to identify plausible systems mechanisms that conform to known emergent phenotypes can yield novel, testable hypotheses to guide targeted experiments. However, this approach relies on the accurate encoding of domain-expert knowledge in exploratory mathematical models. We argue that this would be facilitated by fostering more “systems thinking” life scientists and that diversifying your research team may be a practical path to achieve that goal.