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.