Conditional expression of genes and observation of phenotype remain central to biological discovery. Current methods enable either on/off or imprecisely controlled graded gene expression. We developed a 'well-tempered' controller, WTC846, for precisely adjustable, graded, growth condition independent expression of genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Controlled genes are expressed from a strong semisynthetic promoter repressed by the prokaryotic TetR, which also represses its own synthesis; with basal expression abolished by a second, 'zeroing' repressor. The autorepression loop lowers cell-to-cell variation while enabling precise adjustment of protein expression by a chemical inducer. WTC846 allelic strains in which the controller replaced the native promoters recapitulated known null phenotypes (CDC42, TPI1), exhibited novel overexpression phenotypes (IPL1), showed protein dosage-dependent growth rates and morphological phenotypes (CDC28, TOR2, PMA1 and the hitherto uncharacterized PBR1), and enabled cell cycle synchronization (CDC20). WTC846 defines an 'expression clamp' allowing protein dosage to be adjusted by the experimenter across the range of cellular protein abundances, with limited variation around the setpoint.
All relevant sequences are included in the supporting files for reproducibility. All raw flow cytometry data is publicly available at doi.org/10.3929/ethz-b-000488967. All other source data is included in the manuscript and supporting files.
- Asli Azizoglu
- Fabian Rudolf
- Roger Brent
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
© 2021, Azizoglu 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.
Dynamic regulation of transcription is crucial for the cellular responses to various environmental or developmental cues. Gdown1 is a ubiquitously expressed, RNA polymerase II (Pol II) interacting protein, essential for the embryonic development of metazoan. It tightly binds Pol II in vitro and competitively blocks the binding of TFIIF and possibly other transcriptional regulatory factors, yet its cellular functions and regulatory circuits remain unclear. Here, we show that human GDOWN1 strictly localizes in the cytoplasm of various types of somatic cells and exhibits a potent resistance to the imposed driving force for its nuclear localization. Combined with the genetic and microscope-based approaches, two types of the functionally coupled and evolutionally conserved localization regulatory motifs are identified, including the CRM1-dependent nucleus export signal (NES) and a novel Cytoplasmic Anchoring Signal (CAS) that mediates its retention outside of the nuclear pore complexes (NPC). Mutagenesis of CAS alleviates GDOWN1’s cytoplasmic retention, thus unlocks its nucleocytoplasmic shuttling properties, and the increased nuclear import and accumulation of GDOWN1 results in a drastic reduction of both Pol II and its associated global transcription levels. Importantly, the nuclear translocation of GDOWN1 occurs in response to the oxidative stresses, and the ablation of GDOWN1 significantly weakens the cellular tolerance. Collectively, our work uncovers the molecular basis of GDOWN1’s subcellular localization and a novel cellular strategy of modulating global transcription and stress-adaptation via controlling the nuclear translocation of GDOWN1.
In a departure from previous findings, new results suggest that free-floating pieces of DNA which carry additional copies of cancer-driving genes do not tend to cluster or have increased transcription.