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Transcriptional Bursting in Gene Expression: Analytical Results for General Stochastic Models.


ABSTRACT: Gene expression in individual cells is highly variable and sporadic, often resulting in the synthesis of mRNAs and proteins in bursts. Such bursting has important consequences for cell-fate decisions in diverse processes ranging from HIV-1 viral infections to stem-cell differentiation. It is generally assumed that bursts are geometrically distributed and that they arrive according to a Poisson process. On the other hand, recent single-cell experiments provide evidence for complex burst arrival processes, highlighting the need for analysis of more general stochastic models. To address this issue, we invoke a mapping between general stochastic models of gene expression and systems studied in queueing theory to derive exact analytical expressions for the moments associated with mRNA/protein steady-state distributions. These results are then used to derive noise signatures, i.e. explicit conditions based entirely on experimentally measurable quantities, that determine if the burst distributions deviate from the geometric distribution or if burst arrival deviates from a Poisson process. For non-Poisson arrivals, we develop approaches for accurate estimation of burst parameters. The proposed approaches can lead to new insights into transcriptional bursting based on measurements of steady-state mRNA/protein distributions.

SUBMITTER: Kumar N 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4608583 | BioStudies | 2015-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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