Positive feedback, stochasticity and genetic competence

Karmakar, Rajesh ; Bose, Indrani (2007) Positive feedback, stochasticity and genetic competence Physical Biology, 04 (01). pp. 29-37. ISSN 1478-3967

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Official URL: http://iopscience.iop.org/1478-3975/4/1/004

Related URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1478-3975/4/1/004


A single gene, regulating its own expression via a positive feedback loop, constitutes a common motif in gene regulatory networks and signalling cascades. Recent experiments on the development of competence in the bacterial population B. subtilis show that the autoregulatory genetic module by itself can give rise to two types of cellular states. The states correspond to the low and high expression states of the master regulator ComK. The high expression state is attained when the ComK protein level exceeds a threshold value leading to a full activation of the autostimulatory loop. Stochasticity in gene expression drives the transitions between the two stable states. In this paper, we explain the appearance of bimodal protein distributions in B. subtilis cell population in the framework of three possible scenarios. In two of the cases, bistability provides the basis for binary gene expression. In the third case, the system is monostable in a deterministic description and stochasticity in gene expression is solely responsible for the appearance of the two expression states.

Item Type:Article
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Deposited On:19 Oct 2010 10:06
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