Lysogen stability is determined by the frequency of activity bursts from the fate-determining gene

Chenghang Zong, Lok Hang So, Leonardo A. Sepúlveda, Samuel O. Skinner, Ido Golding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The ability of living cells to maintain an inheritable memory of their gene-expression state is key to cellular differentiation. Bacterial lysogeny serves as a simple paradigm for long-term cellular memory. In this study, we address the following question: in the absence of external perturbation, how long will a cell stay in the lysogenic state before spontaneously switching away from that state? We show by direct measurement that lysogen stability exhibits a simple exponential dependence on the frequency of activity bursts from the fate-determining gene, cI. We quantify these gene-activity bursts using single-molecule-resolution mRNA measurements in individual cells, analyzed using a stochastic mathematical model of the gene-network kinetics. The quantitative relation between stability and gene activity is independent of the fine details of gene regulation, suggesting that a quantitative prediction of cell-state stability may also be possible in more complex systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number440
JournalMolecular Systems Biology
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 13 2010

Keywords

  • epigenetic stability
  • lysis
  • lysogeny
  • phage lambda
  • stochastic gene expression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Lysogen stability is determined by the frequency of activity bursts from the fate-determining gene'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this