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Generation of Single-Cell Transcript Variability by Repression

Antolović, V; Miermont, A; Corrigan, AM; Chubb, JR; (2017) Generation of Single-Cell Transcript Variability by Repression. Current Biology , 27 (12) pp. 1811-1817. 10.1016/j.cub.2017.05.028. Green open access

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Abstract

Gene expression levels vary greatly within similar cells, even within clonal cell populations [1]. These spontaneous expression differences underlie cell fate diversity in both differentiation and disease [2]. The mechanisms responsible for generating expression variability are poorly understood. Using single-cell transcriptomics, we show that transcript variability emerging during Dictyostelium differentiation is driven predominantly by repression rather than activation. The increased variability of repressed genes was observed over a broad range of expression levels, indicating that variability is actively imposed and not a passive statistical effect of the reduced numbers of molecules accompanying repression. These findings can be explained by a simple model of transcript production, with expression controlled by the frequency, rather than the magnitude, of transcriptional firing events. Our study reveals that the generation of differences between cells can be a direct consequence of the basic mechanisms of transcriptional regulation.

Type: Article
Title: Generation of Single-Cell Transcript Variability by Repression
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.05.028
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2017.05.028
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: stochastic gene expression; transcription; RNA stability; single-cell transcriptomics; Dictyostelium; heterogeneity; stochastic differentiation; self-organization; repression
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1559710
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