Protein-level fluctuation correlation at the microcolony level and its application to the Vibrio harveyi quorum-sensing circuit.
ABSTRACT Gene expression is stochastic, and noise that arises from the stochastic nature of biochemical reactions propagates through active regulatory links. Thus, correlations in gene-expression noise can provide information about regulatory links. We present what to our knowledge is a new approach to measure and interpret such correlated fluctuations at the level of single microcolonies, which derive from single cells. We demonstrated this approach mathematically using stochastic modeling, and applied it to experimental time-lapse fluorescence microscopy data. Specifically, we investigated the relationships among LuxO, LuxR, and the small regulatory RNA qrr4 in the model quorum-sensing bacterium Vibrio harveyi. Our results show that LuxR positively regulates the qrr4 promoter. Under our conditions, we find that qrr regulation weakly depends on total LuxO levels and that LuxO autorepression is saturated. We also find evidence that the fluctuations in LuxO levels are dominated by intrinsic noise. We furthermore propose LuxO and LuxR interact at all autoinducer levels via an unknown mechanism. Of importance, our new method of evaluating correlations at the microcolony level is unaffected by partition noise at cell division. Moreover, the method is first-order accurate and requires less effort for data analysis than single-cell-based approaches. This new correlation approach can be applied to other systems to aid analysis of gene regulatory circuits.
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ABSTRACT: 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.Journal of Molecular Biology 12/2002; 323(5):785-93. · 4.00 Impact Factor
Article: Multiple small RNAs act additively to integrate sensory information and control quorum sensing in Vibrio harveyi.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Quorum sensing is a cell-cell communication mechanism that bacteria use to collectively regulate gene expression and, at a higher level, to coordinate group behavior. In the bioluminescent marine bacterium Vibrio harveyi, sensory information from three independent quorum-sensing systems converges on the shared response regulator LuxO. When LuxO is phosphorylated, it activates the expression of a putative repressor that destabilizes the mRNA encoding the master quorum-sensing transcriptional regulator LuxR. In the closely related species Vibrio cholerae, this repressor was revealed to be the RNA chaperone Hfq together with four small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) called Qrr1-4 (quorum regulatory RNA). Here, we identify five Qrr sRNAs that control quorum sensing in V. harveyi. Mutational analysis reveals that only four of the five Qrrs are required for destabilization of the luxR mRNA. Surprisingly, unlike in V. cholerae where the sRNAs act redundantly, in V. harveyi, the Qrr sRNAs function additively to control quorum sensing. This latter mechanism produces a gradient of LuxR that, in turn, enables differential regulation of quorum-sensing target genes. Other regulators appear to be involved in control of V. harveyi qrr expression, allowing the integration of additional sensory information into the regulation of quorum-sensing gene expression.Genes & Development 02/2007; 21(2):221-33. · 11.66 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Members of the rhizobia are distinguished for their ability to establish a nitrogen-fixing symbiosis with leguminous plants. While many details of this relationship remain a mystery, much effort has gone into elucidating the mechanisms governing bacterium-host recognition and the events leading to symbiosis. Several signal molecules, including plant-produced flavonoids and bacterially produced nodulation factors and exopolysaccharides, are known to function in the molecular conversation between the host and the symbiont. Work by several laboratories has shown that an additional mode of regulation, quorum sensing, intercedes in the signal exchange process and perhaps plays a major role in preparing and coordinating the nitrogen-fixing rhizobia during the establishment of the symbiosis. Rhizobium leguminosarum, for example, carries a multitiered quorum-sensing system that represents one of the most complex regulatory networks identified for this form of gene regulation. This review focuses on the recent stream of information regarding quorum sensing in the nitrogen-fixing rhizobia. Seminal work on the quorum-sensing systems of R. leguminosarum bv. viciae, R. etli, Rhizobium sp. strain NGR234, Sinorhizobium meliloti, and Bradyrhizobium japonicum is presented and discussed. The latest work shows that quorum sensing can be linked to various symbiotic phenomena including nodulation efficiency, symbiosome development, exopolysaccharide production, and nitrogen fixation, all of which are important for the establishment of a successful symbiosis. Many questions remain to be answered, but the knowledge obtained so far provides a firm foundation for future studies on the role of quorum-sensing mediated gene regulation in host-bacterium interactions.Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews 01/2004; 67(4):574-92. · 13.02 Impact Factor