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Brianna Gawronski, AMT495: Applied Mathematics Project
Faculty Mentor(s): Professor Saziye Bayram, Mathematics, Professor Derek Beahm, Biology

Cell volume dynamics can be influenced by many different factors in a cell, such as the diffusion of osmotically active compounds between the cell and the extracellular environment via transport proteins. Gap junctions are protein complexes made from the interaction of two connexon half-channels, which create a bridge between two cells to connect their cytosolic compartments. In our study, we explore a heterogenous syncytium of two clones of CHO cells connected by gap junctions, one that overexpresses a gene for aquaporin channels and one that overexpresses a gene for a control protein. The aquaporin cells (CHO-AQP) swell much faster than the control cells (CHO-CD81) when perfused with hypotonic media. Under these conditions, excluding ion transport through the plasma membrane and cell stress factors, we propose a simplified mathematical model, describing the volume dynamics between the syncytium, propagated by the connection specifically during the initial ten seconds of exposure to hypotonic media. Our model is derived from the effects of the induced junctional gradient, driven by the non-uniform increase in water concentration between the two cell compartments. Different cases that have been suggested as the activity are considered and used to estimate and fit data from the relative volumes and concentrations of the coupled cells before the regulated volume decrease begins to occur (tens of minutes after perfusion in hypotonic media).

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Gap Junctions Influencing Cell Volume Dynamics
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