We present in vivo single-cell FRET measurements in the Escherichia coli chemotaxis system that reveal pervasive signaling variability, both across cells in isogenic populations and within individual cells over time. We quantify cell-to-cell variability of adaptation, ligand response, as well as steady-state output level, and analyze the role of network design in shaping this diversity from gene expression noise. In the absence of changes in gene expression, we find that single cells demonstrate strong temporal fluctuations. We provide evidence that such signaling noise can arise from at least two sources: (i) stochastic activities of adaptation enzymes, and (ii) receptor-kinase dynamics in the absence of adaptation. We demonstrate that under certain conditions, (ii) can generate giant fluctuations that drive signaling activity of the entire cell into a stochastic two-state switching regime. Our findings underscore the importance of molecular noise, arising not only in gene expression but also in protein networks.
- Thomas S Shimizu
- Thomas S Shimizu
- Thierry Emonet
- Thomas S Shimizu
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Naama Barkai, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
© 2017, Keegstra et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Cells convert electrical signals into chemical outputs to facilitate the active transport of information across larger distances. This electrical-to-chemical conversion requires a tightly regulated expression of ion channels. Alterations of ion channel expression provide landmarks of numerous pathological diseases, such as cardiac arrhythmia, epilepsy, or cancer. Although the activity of ion channels can be locally regulated by external light or chemical stimulus, it remains challenging to coordinate the expression of ion channels on extended spatial–temporal scales. Here, we engineered yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to read and convert chemical concentrations into a dynamic potassium channel expression. A synthetic dual-feedback circuit controls the expression of engineered potassium channels through phytohormones auxin and salicylate to produce a macroscopically coordinated pulses of the plasma membrane potential. Our study provides a compact experimental model to control electrical activity through gene expression in eukaryotic cell populations setting grounds for various cellular engineering, synthetic biology, and potential therapeutic applications.
The age and sex of studied animals profoundly impact experimental outcomes in biomedical research. However, most preclinical studies in mice use a wide-spanning age range from 4 to 20 weeks and do not assess male and female mice in parallel. This raises concerns regarding reproducibility and neglects potentially relevant age and sex differences, which are largely unknown at the molecular level in naïve mice. Here, we employed an optimized quantitative proteomics workflow in order to deeply profile mouse paw skin and sciatic nerves (SCN) – two tissues implicated in nociception and pain as well as diseases linked to inflammation, injury, and demyelination. Remarkably, we uncovered significant differences when comparing male and female mice at adolescent (4 weeks) and adult (14 weeks) age. Our analysis deciphered protein subsets and networks that were correlated with the age and/or sex of mice. Notably, among these were proteins/biological pathways with known (patho)physiological relevance, e.g., homeostasis and epidermal signaling in skin, and, in SCN, multiple myelin proteins and regulators of neuronal development. Extensive comparisons with available databases revealed that various proteins associated with distinct skin diseases and pain exhibited significant abundance changes in dependence on age and/or sex. Taken together, our study uncovers hitherto unknown sex and age differences at the level of proteins and protein networks. Overall, we provide a unique proteome resource that facilitates mechanistic insights into somatosensory and skin biology, and integrates age and sex as biological variables – a prerequisite for successful preclinical studies in mouse disease models.