Iron is an essential transition metal for all eukaryotic cells, and its trafficking throughout the cell is highly regulated. However, the overall cellular mechanism of regulation is poorly understood despite knowing many of the molecular players involved. Here, an ordinary-differential-equations (ODE) based kinetic model of iron trafficking within a growing yeast cell was developed that included autoregulation. The 9-reaction 8-component in-silico cell model was solved under both steady-state and time-dependent dynamical conditions. The ODE for each component included a dilution term due to cell growth. Conserved rate relationships were obtained from the null space of the stoichiometric matrix, and the reduced-row-echelon-form was used to distinguish independent from dependent rates. Independent rates were determined from experimentally estimated component concentrations, cell growth rates, and the literature. Simple rate-law expressions were assumed, allowing rate-constants for each reaction to be estimated. Continuous Heaviside logistical functions were used to regulate rate-constants. These functions acted like valves, opening or closing depending on component "sensor" concentrations. Two cellular regulatory mechanisms were selected from 134,217,728 possibilities using a novel approach involving 6 mathematically-defined filters. Three cellular states were analyzed including healthy wild-type cells, iron-deficient wild-type cells, and a frataxin-deficient strain of cells characterizing the disease Friedreich's Ataxia. The model was stable toward limited perturbations, as determined by the eigenvalues of Jacobian matrices. Autoregulation allowed healthy cells to transition to the diseased state when triggered by a mutation in frataxin, and to the iron-deficient state when cells are placed in iron-deficient growth medium. The in-silico phenotypes observed during these transitions were similar to those observed experimentally. The model also predicted the observed effects of hypoxia on the diseased condition. A similar approach could be used to solve ODE-based kinetic models associated with other biochemical processes operating within growing cells.

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