Single-cell expression profiling opens up new vistas on cellular processes. Extensive cell-to-cell variability at the transcriptomic and proteomic level has been one of the stand-out observations. Because most experimental analyses are destructive we only have access to snapshot data of cellular states. This loss of temporal information presents significant challenges for inferring dynamics, as well as causes of cell-to-cell variability. In particular, we typically cannot separate dynamic variability from within cells ('intrinsic noise') from variability across the population ('extrinsic noise'). Here we make this non-identifiability mathematically precise, allowing us to identify new experimental set-ups that can assist in resolving this non-identifiability. We show that multiple generic reporters from the same biochemical pathways (e.g. mRNA and protein) can infer magnitudes of intrinsic and extrinsic transcriptional noise, identifying sources of heterogeneity. Stochastic simulations support our theory, and demonstrate that 'pathway-reporters' compare favourably to the well-known, but often difficult to implement, dual-reporter method.
All methods and simulation results are shared via a github site.There is no original data associated with this manuscript.
- Lucy Ham
- Michael Stumpf
- Michael Stumpf
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Ramon Grima
© 2021, Ham 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.
A new in vitro system called Rec-Seq sheds light on how mRNA molecules compete for the machinery that translates their genetic sequence into proteins.
Meiotic sex chromosome inactivation (MSCI) is a critical feature of meiotic prophase I progression in males. While the ATR kinase and its activator TOPBP1 are key drivers of MSCI within the specialized sex body (SB) domain of the nucleus, how they promote silencing remains unclear given their multifaceted meiotic functions that also include DNA repair, chromosome synapsis, and SB formation. Here we report a novel mutant mouse harboring mutations in the TOPBP1-BRCT5 domain. Topbp1B5/B5 males are infertile, with impaired MSCI despite displaying grossly normal events of early prophase I, including synapsis and SB formation. Specific ATR-dependent events are disrupted, including phosphorylation and localization of the RNA:DNA helicase Senataxin. Topbp1B5/B5 spermatocytes initiate, but cannot maintain ongoing, MSCI. These findings reveal a non-canonical role for the ATR-TOPBP1 signaling axis in MSCI dynamics at advanced stages in pachynema and establish the first mouse mutant that separates ATR signaling and MSCI from SB formation.