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Published November 8, 2002 | public
Journal Article

Negative Autoregulation Speeds the Response Times of Transcription Networks


Cells regulate gene expression using networks of transcription interactions; it is of interest to discover the principles that govern the dynamical behavior of such networks. An important characteristic of these systems is the rise-time: the delay from the initiation of production until half maximal product concentration is reached. Here we employ synthetic gene circuits in Escherichia coli to measure the rise-times of non-self-regulated and of negatively autoregulated transcription units. Non-self-regulated units have a rise-time of one cell-cycle. We demonstrate experimentally that negative autoregulation feedback (also termed autogenous control) reduces the rise-time to about one fifth of a cell-cycle. This agrees with an analytical solution of a mathematical model for negative autoregulation. This may help in understanding the function of negative autoregulation, which appears in over 40% of known transcription factors in E. coli.

Additional Information

© 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. Received 9 May 2002, Revised 2 September 2002, Accepted 7 September 2002, Available online 29 October 2002. We thank A. Becskei, L. Serrano, R. Lutz and H. Bujard for plasmids. We thank P. Bashkin for assistance. We thank N. Barkai for illuminating discussions and suggestions. We thank M. Surette, S. Leibler, O. Stock, A. Levine and all members of our laboratory for discussions. This work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation, the Human Frontiers Science Project and the Minerva foundation. M.E. is supported by the Seaver institute and the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund. N.R. dedicates this work to the memory of his father, Yasha Rosenfeld.

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