Geometry-Induced Bursting Dynamics in Gene Expression

B. Meyer , O. Benichou , Y. Kafri , R. Voituriez

Bibtex , URL
Published 02 May 2012
DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2012.03.060
ISSN: 0006-3495


In prokaryotes and eukaryotes, genes are transcribed stochastically according to various temporal patterns that range from simple first-order kinetics to marked bursts, resulting in temporal and cell-to-cell variations of mRNA and protein levels. Here, we consider the effect of the transport of regulatory molecules on the noise in gene expression by taking into account explicitly the dynamics of a finite number of transcription factors confined in the cell. We calculate analytically time-dependent correlation functions of mRNA levels for a wide range of transport mechanisms and find that in the limit of small-transcription-factor copy number, the results differ significantly from standard approaches, which ignore confinement. It is shown how such dynamical quantities, which can now be obtained experimentally, can be used to identify the underlying mechanisms of transcription. Of particular importance, it is demonstrated that the geometry of transcription-factor trajectories in the cellular environment plays a key role in transcription kinetics, and can intrinsically generate the observed various transcription patterns ranging from simple first-order kinetics to bursts.

Cette publication est associée à :

Dynamique stochastique des systèmes réactifs et vivants