Albert Einstein Cancer Center

Transcription of functionally related constitutive genes is not coordinated

Expression of an individual gene can vary considerably among genetically identical cells because of stochastic fluctuations in transcription. However, proteins comprising essential complexes or pathways have similar abundances and lower variability. It was not known whether coordination in the expression of subunits of essential complexes occurs at the level of transcription, mRNA abundance or protein expression. To directly measure the level of coordination in the expression of genes, AECC member Singer and colleagues used highly sensitive fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to count individual mRNAs of functionally related and unrelated genes within single Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells. The results revealed that transcript levels of temporally induced genes are highly correlated in individual cells. In contrast, transcription of constitutive genes encoding essential subunits of complexes is not coordinated because of stochastic fluctuations. These observation establish that the coordination of these functional complexes must occur post-transcriptionally, and likely post-translationally. 

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