BGU Physics Department

Colloquium, March 15th, 2012

Complex dynamics of transcriptional response: how do cells get on the fast lane ?

Eytan Domani, Weizmann Institute
The talk will start with a very basic introductionaimed at the non-expert.

In response to external stimuli,cells adjust their behavior to a changing environment – for example, they start to divide or migrate. In order to perform these actions, the protein content of the cell must change. To accomplish this, a cell must modify the levels at which the genes that code for these proteins are transcribed. These transcriptional responses to extracellular stimuli are regulated by tuning the rates of transcript production and degradation. I present here the results of a study aimed at deducing the dynamics of these two processes from measurements of the transcriptome, and to elucidate the operational strategy behind this dynamics.

We found that production of many transcripts was characterized by a large dynamic range, which allowedthese genes to exhibit an unexpectedly strong transient “production overshoot”, thereby accelerating their induction. Another intriguing finding indicates that the degradation rates are controlled in a transcript specific manner, with interesting dynamics.