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2012-03-08 IBIVU Evert Bosdriesz - Ibivu

2012-03-08 IBIVU Evert Bosdriesz

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  • Date: 2012-03-08
  • Time: 11:00-12:15
  • Room: C6.59
  • Speaker: Evert Bosdriesz
  • Event: Bioinformatics & Systems Biology seminar
  • Title: Optimal and robust regulation of gene expression
  • Abstract:

Unicellular organisms operate in changing environments. They are subject to strong selective pressure on growth rate maximization, which requires the maximization of specific rate of catalysis in biosynthetic modules and ultimately of the entire self-replicating machinery. This goal is attained by synthesizing the biosynthetic machinery in proportions that are optimal under the given environmental conditions. This raises the question what kind of regulatory network can reliably tune gene expression levels towards their optimum. Here we present a simple feedback mechanism for the regulation of gene expression that maximizes the flux per total amount of enzyme in a pathway. We show that this mechanism is able to attain optimal expression levels over a wide range of external conditions, and that the ability to do so is extremely robust. These properties arise because, for nearly optimal enzyme concentration, small fluctuations in the enzyme concentration lead to extremely large fluctuations in the metabolite levels, making these a very reliable regulatory signal. As an example, we study the regulation of the main biosynthetic machinery of Escherichia coli in silico. Because of its simplicity and robustness, we expect that this feedback motif is more commonly used in gene expression regulation.

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