Projects per year
Abstract / Description of output
Gene expression stochasticity is inherent in the functional properties and evolution of biological systems, creating non-genetic cellular individuality and influencing multiple processes, including differentiation and stress responses. In a distinct form of non-transcriptional noise, we find that interactions of the yeast translation machinery with the GCN4 mRNA 5'UTR, which underpins starvation-induced regulation of this transcriptional activator gene, manifest stochastic variation across cellular populations. We use flow cytometry, fluorescence-activated cell sorting and microfluidics coupled to fluorescence microscopy to characterize the cell-to-cell heterogeneity of GCN4-5'UTR-mediated translation initiation. GCN4-5'UTR-mediated translation is generally not de-repressed under non-starvation conditions; however, a sub-population of cells consistently manifests a stochastically enhanced GCN4 translation (SETGCN4) state that depends on the integrity of the GCN4 uORFs. This sub-population is eliminated upon deletion of the Gcn2 kinase that phosphorylates eIF2α under nutrient-limitation conditions, or upon mutation to Ala of the Gcn2 kinase target site, eIF2α-Ser51. SETGCN4 cells isolated using cell sorting spontaneously regenerate the full bimodal population distribution upon further growth. Analysis of ADE8::ymRuby3/ GCN4::yEGFP cells reveals enhanced Gcn4-activated biosynthetic pathway activity in SETGCN4 cells under non-starvation conditions. Computational modeling interprets our experimental observations in terms of a novel translational noise mechanism underpinned by natural variations in Gcn2 kinase activity.
FingerprintDive into the research topics of 'Stochastic scanning events on the GCN4 mRNA 5' untranslated region generate cell-to-cell heterogeneity in the yeast nutritional stress response'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
- 1 Active
1/04/21 → 31/03/24