Short residence times of DNA-bound transcription factors can reduce gene expression noise and increase the transmission of information in a gene regulation system

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Eugenio Azpeitia, Andreas Wagner

Abstract

Gene expression noise is not just ubiquitous but also variable, and we still do not understand some of the most elementary factors that affect it. Among them is the residence time of a transcription factor (TF) on DNA, the mean time that a DNA-bound TF remains bound. Here, we use a stochastic model of transcriptional regulation to study how this residence time affects gene expression. We find that the effect of residence time on gene expression depends on the level of induction of the gene. At high levels of induction, residence time has no effect on gene expression. However, as the level of induction decreases, short residence times reduce gene expression noise. The reason is that fast on-off TF binding dynamics prevent long periods where proteins are predominantly synthesized or degraded, which can cause excessive fluctuations in gene expression. As a consequence, short residence times can help a gene regulation system acquire information about the cellular environment it operates in. Our predictions are consistent with the observation that experimentally measured residence times are usually modest and lie between seconds to minutes.

Related Concepts

Transcriptional Regulation
Genes
Transcription, Genetic
Environment
Gene Expression
Transcription Factor Binding
Disease Transmission
Transcription Factor
DNA

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