Navigation Links
Flip-flopping gene expression can be advantageous

One gene for pea pod color generates green pods while a variant of that gene gives rise to the yellow-pod phenotype, a feature that helped Gregor Mendel, the 19th century Austrian priest and scientist, first describe genetic inheritance. However, many modern-day geneticists are focused on the strange ability of some genes to be expressed spontaneously in either of two possible ways.

In order to better understand this phenomenon of epigenetic multistability, a major complication for Mendelian genetics, scientists at UC San Diego grew virtual bacterial cells in a computer experiment. They created a two-phenotype model system programmed to grow in ways that matched natural growth. In a deceptively simple experiment, they then recorded the degree to which the two phenotypes varied over time in individual cells, and then repeated the experiment over and over. They reported in the Nov. 19 online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that variability due to epigenetic multistability is larger and persists much longer than they had expected.

While the phenomenon is yet to be discovered in the human genome, the new results suggest that researchers studying bacteria should carefully design their experiments to measure variability due to epigenetic multistability. Even in human cells, multistability may play a role in genes can alternate between on and off settings.

Scientists studying bacteria have simply not had the tools to understand phenotypic variability, said Ting Lu, lead author of the study who was a UCSD graduate student in the lab of bioengineering professor Jeff Hasty. (Lu is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University.) Weve arrived at a theoretical framework that allows experimenters to measure the ephemeral nature of epigenetics.

Epigenetic multistability may be vital to cells that are outwardly different, but genetically identical. Only one of the two phenotypes might thrive in a given environmental condition; however, the less advantageous phenotype could come in handy if the environmental conditions unexpectedly changed. By having both phenotypes, the chances would be better that the best one will be present when needed.

Researchers in many labs recently have demonstrated that gene expression can be surprisingly random. The framework established in the UCSD study evaluates how such noisy gene expression affects the properties of developing cellular colonies, such as the progression of bacterial infections or the growth of a population of cancerous cells.

The PNAS paper also documented that the time it takes for a population of cells to reach a stable variance depends on the initial growth conditions and how easily those conditions support cell growth.

Different results can emerge depending on how cells are grown, said Jeff Hasty, a professor of bioengineering at UCSD and senior author of the paper. Our results should allow all researchers studying bacteria to better understand the variability they routinely see from one experiment to the next.


Contact: Rex Graham
University of California - San Diego  

Related medicine news :

1. Altered expression of ultraconserved noncoding RNAs linked to human leukemias and carcinomas
2. 10th Anniversary of Revolutionary Teaching Approach that Offers the Severely Disabled the Gift of Self-Expression - Through Painting
3. New study shows that therapeutic gene expression can be sustainable for 1 year
4. Xceed Molecular Launches Ziplex(R) Automated Gene-Expression System at the Association for Molecular Pathology, Booth 84/85
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Flip-flopping gene expression can be advantageous
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Using a combination of two blood ... children and adults, according to a new study by researchers at the School of ... Children and Adults: Using Combinations of Blood Glucose Tests ,” published in Frontiers in ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Newly reviewed and approved “NJ Top ... from Tufts School of Dental Medicine in 1935. His father graduated from NYU ... being in dentistry as well as their commitment and passion to the Practice of ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... York, NY (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... York Times,” will be released on December 1, 2015, to coincide with World AIDS ... about the groundbreaking journalist who covered the AIDS epidemic as he was dying of ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... The American Society for ... honor of World AIDS Day 2015. On Nov. 30, ASCP shared its “Give a ... about World AIDS Day and the importance of getting tested for HIV. , ASCP ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 30, 2015 , ... California-based i2i Systems, a pioneer defining ... Michigan-based Family Health Center (FHC) has selected i2iTracks as their population health management ... the largest Affordable Care Act grant for Federally Qualified Health Centers in the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015 Nautilus Medical ... Radiology Image Management platform ( ). The release ... announced from RSNA 2015 (Radiology Society North America) in ... conference in the U.S. --> ... platform that enables access to radiology studies worldwide via ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... North America was valued ... at a CAGR of 7.6% from 2015 to 2020. --> ... million in 2014, and is expected to grow at a CAGR ... the new Market Research Report "North America Cardiac Output Monitoring Devices ... ambulatory care, others) - Analysis And Forecast To 2020", the cardiac ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 30, 2015 ... adds a 2015 publication on ... 2015 with comprehensive analysis of recent ... deal types, such as Mergers & ... . --> ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: