Closed-loop cycles of experiment design, execution, and learning accelerate systems biology model development in yeast

Anthony Coutant, Katherine Roper, Daniel Trejo-Banos, Dominique Bouthinon, Martin Carpenter, Jacek Grzebyta, Guillaume Santini, Henry Soldano, Jan Ramon, Mohamed Elati, Celine Rouveirol, Larisa N Soldatova, Ross D. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the most challenging tasks in modern science is the development of systems biology models: Existing models are often very complex but generally have low predictive performance. The construction of high-fidelity models will require hundreds/thousands of cycles of model improvement, yet few current systems biology research studies complete even a single cycle. We combined multiple software tools with integrated laboratory robotics to execute three cycles of model improvement of the prototypical eukaryotic cellular transformation, the yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) diauxic shift. In the first cycle, a model outperforming the best previous diauxic shift model was developed using bioinformatic and systems biology tools. In the second cycle, the model was further improved using automatically planned experiments. In the third cycle, hypothesis-led experiments improved the model to a greater extent than achieved using high-throughput experiments. All of the experiments were formalized and communicated to a cloud laboratory automation system (Eve) for automatic execution, and the results stored on the semantic web for reuse. The final model adds a substantial amount of knowledge about the yeast diauxic shift: 92 genes (+45%), and 1,048 interactions (+147%). This knowledge is also relevant to understanding cancer, the immune system, and aging. We conclude that systems biology software tools can be combined and integrated with laboratory robots in closed-loop cycles.
Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2019


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