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A Stochastic Single-Molecule Event Triggers Phenotype Switching of a Bacterial Cell

Choi, Paul J. and Cai, Long and Frieda, Kirsten and Xie, Sunney (2008) A Stochastic Single-Molecule Event Triggers Phenotype Switching of a Bacterial Cell. Science, 322 (5900). pp. 442-446. ISSN 0036-8075. PMCID PMC2819113. doi:10.1126/science.1161427.

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By monitoring fluorescently labeled lactose permease with single-molecule sensitivity, we investigated the molecular mechanism of how an Escherichia coli cell with the lac operon switches from one phenotype to another. At intermediate inducer concentrations, a population of genetically identical cells exhibits two phenotypes: induced cells with highly fluorescent membranes and uninduced cells with a small number of membrane-bound permeases. We found that this basal-level expression results from partial dissociation of the tetrameric lactose repressor from one of its operators on looped DNA. In contrast, infrequent events of complete dissociation of the repressor from DNA result in large bursts of permease expression that trigger induction of the lac operon. Hence, a stochastic single-molecule event determines a cell's phenotype.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Cai, Long0000-0002-7154-5361
Additional Information:© 2008 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Received for publication 5 June 2008. Accepted for publication 12 September 2008. Materials and methods are available as supporting material on Science Online. We would like to thank G. Church, A. Miyawaki, and B. Wanner for bacterial strains and plasmids; J. Hearn for technical assistance; and J. Elf, N. Friedman, and G. W. Li for helpful discussions. This work was supported by the NIH Director's Pioneer Award. P.J.C. acknowledges the John and Fannie Hertz Foundation.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Fannie and John Hertz FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:5900
PubMed Central ID:PMC2819113
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:CHOsci08
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:12220
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:29 Oct 2008 21:51
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 22:26

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