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Division rate, cell size and proteome allocation: impact on gene expression noise and implications for the dynamics of genetic circuits.


ABSTRACT: The cell division rate, size and gene expression programmes change in response to external conditions. These global changes impact on average concentrations of biomolecule and their variability or noise. Gene expression is inherently stochastic, and noise levels of individual proteins depend on synthesis and degradation rates as well as on cell-cycle dynamics. We have modelled stochastic gene expression inside growing and dividing cells to study the effect of division rates on noise in mRNA and protein expression. We use assumptions and parameters relevant to Escherichia coli, for which abundant quantitative data are available. We find that coupling of transcription, but not translation rates to the rate of cell division can result in protein concentration and noise homeostasis across conditions. Interestingly, we find that the increased cell size at fast division rates, observed in E. coli and other unicellular organisms, buffers noise levels even for proteins with decreased expression at faster growth. We then investigate the functional importance of these regulations using gene regulatory networks that exhibit bi-stability and oscillations. We find that network topology affects robustness to changes in division rate in complex and unexpected ways. In particular, a simple model of persistence, based on global physiological feedback, predicts increased proportion of persister cells at slow division rates. Altogether, our study reveals how cell size regulation in response to cell division rate could help controlling gene expression noise. It also highlights that understanding circuits' robustness across growth conditions is key for the effective design of synthetic biological systems.

SUBMITTER: Bertaux F 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5882738 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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