Dynamical determinants of drug-inducible gene expression in a single bacterium Journal Article

Author(s): Le, Thuc T.; Emonet, Thierry; Harlepp, Sébastien; Guet, Cǎlin C; Cluzel, Philippe
Article Title: Dynamical determinants of drug-inducible gene expression in a single bacterium
Abstract: A primitive example of adaptation in gene expression is the balance between the rate of synthesis and degradation of cellular RNA, which allows rapid responses to environmental signals. Here, we investigate how multidrug efflux pump systems mediate the dynamics of a simple drug-inducible system in response to a steady level of inducer. Using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, we measured in real time within a single bacterium the transcription activity at the RNA level of the acrAB-TolC multidrug efflux pump system. When cells are exposed to constant level of anhydrotetracycline inducer and are adsorbed onto a poly-L-lysine-coated surface, we found that the acrAB-TolC promoter is steadily active. We also monitored the activity of the tet promoter to characterize the effect of this efflux system on the dynamics of drug-inducible transcription. We found that the transcriptional response of the tet promoter to a steady level of aTc rises and then falls back to its preinduction level. The rate of RNA degradation was constant throughout the transcriptional pulse, indicating that the modulation of intracellular inducer concentration alone can produce this pulsating response. Single-cell experiments together with numerical simulations suggest that such pulsating response in drug-inducible genetic systems is a property emerging from the dependence of drug-inducible transcription on multidrug efflux systems.
Journal Title: Biophysical Journal
Volume: 90
Issue 9
ISSN: 1542-0086
Publisher: Biophysical Society  
Date Published: 2006-01-01
Start Page: 3315
End Page: 3321
DOI: 10.1529/biophysj.105.073353
Open access: yes (repository)