Delay-Induced Transient Increase and Heterogeneity in Gene Expression in Negatively Auto-Regulated Gene Circuits

R. Maithreye, Ram Rup Sarkar, Veena K. Parnaik, Somdatta Sinha, Mark Isalan
2008 PLoS ONE  
A generic feature in all intracellular biochemical processes is the time required to complete the whole sequence of reactions to yield any observable quantity-from gene expression to circadian rhythms. This widespread phenomenon points towards the importance of time delay in biological functions. Theoretically time delay is known to be the source of instability, and has been attributed to lead to oscillations or transient dynamics in several biological functions. Negative feedback loops, common
more » ... in biochemical pathways, have been shown to provide stability and withstand considerable variations and random perturbations of biochemical parameters. The interaction of these two opposing factors-of instability and homeostasis-are features that are widespread in intracellular processes. To test the effect of these divergent forces in the dynamics of gene expression, we have designed and constructed simple negatively auto-regulated gene circuits consisting of a basic regulator and transcriptional repressor module, and compared it with one, which has delayed repression. We show, both theoretically and experimentally, that delayed repression induces transient increase and heterogeneity in gene expression before the gain of stability effected by the negative feedback. This design, therefore, seems to be suitable for conferring both stability and variability in cells required for adaptive response to a noisy environment.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002972 pmid:18698420 pmcid:PMC2494610 fatcat:3v4adep2bng3dectatzzpvyv5i