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Gene Regulation at the Single-Cell Level

Summary: Gene Regulation at the
Single-Cell Level
Nitzan Rosenfeld,1
* Jonathan W. Young,3
Uri Alon,1
Peter S. Swain,2
* Michael B. Elowitz3
The quantitative relation between transcription factor concentrations and the
rate of protein production from downstream genes is central to the function
of genetic networks. Here we show that this relation, which we call the gene
regulation function (GRF), fluctuates dynamically in individual living cells,
thereby limiting the accuracy with which transcriptional genetic circuits can
transfer signals. Using fluorescent reporter genes and fusion proteins, we
characterized the bacteriophage lambda promoter PR in Escherichia coli. A
novel technique based on binomial errors in protein partitioning enabled
calibration of in vivo biochemical parameters in molecular units. We found
that protein production rates fluctuate over a time scale of about one cell
cycle, while intrinsic noise decays rapidly. Thus, biochemical parameters,
noise, and slowly varying cellular states together determine the effective


Source: Alon, Uri - Departments of Molecular Cell Biology & Physics of Complex Systems, Weizmann Institute of Science
Elowitz, Michael - Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology
Swain, Peter - Centre for Systems Biology at Edinburgh, University of Edinburgh


Collections: Biology and Medicine; Physics