Regulation of gene expression: simpler than you thought

8 Nov 2013

Eran Segal
Department of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics
Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel


Gene expression regulation is a key molecular mechanism by which cells respond to fluctuating environments. Indeed, since developing the ability to measure genome-wide expression levels ~15 years ago, numerous studies have shown that many genes change their expression in response to a change in the environmental condition. These studies, however, raise many fundamental questions that are still open and poorly understood: why are so many genes changing their expression? Are all of the thousands of genes that change their expression required to respond to the specific change in the environment? What determines the quantitative magnitude of their change in expression? Is the stoichiometry within protein complexes and across biological pathways maintained throughout these changes? Finally, can we identify rules underlying the quantitative relationships between expression profiles under different conditions? In this talk, I will present insights into these questions that we obtained from genome-scale measurements of libraries of promoters fused to fluorescent reporters, suggesting that the transcriptional response to environmental changes is much more organized than previously appreciated. These results have broad practical implications for the analysis of genome-wide expression data.

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