Versatility of Cooperative Transcriptional Activation: A Thermodynamical Modeling Analysis for Greater-Than-Additive and Less-Than-Additive Effects

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Title: Versatility of Cooperative Transcriptional Activation: A Thermodynamical Modeling Analysis for Greater-Than-Additive and Less-Than-Additive Effects
Authors: Frank, Till D.
Carmody, Aimee M.
Kholodenko, Boris N.
et al.
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/5037
Date: 10-Apr-2012
Abstract: We derive a statistical model of transcriptional activation using equilibrium thermodynamics of chemical reactions. We examine to what extent this statistical model predicts synergy effects of cooperative activation of gene expression. We determine parameter domains in which greater-than-additive and less-than-additive effects are predicted for cooperative regulation by two activators. We show that the statistical approach can be used to identify different causes of synergistic greater-than-additive effects: nonlinearities of the thermostatistical transcriptional machinery and three-body interactions between RNA polymerase and two activators. In particular, our model-based analysis suggests that at low transcription factor concentrations cooperative activation cannot yield synergistic greater-than-additive effects, i.e., DNA transcription can only exhibit less-than-additive effects. Accordingly, transcriptional activity turns from synergistic greater-than-additive responses at relatively high transcription factor concentrations into less-than-additive responses at relatively low concentrations. In addition, two types of re-entrant phenomena are predicted. First, our analysis predicts that under particular circumstances transcriptional activity will feature a sequence of less-than-additive, greater-than-additive, and eventually less-than-additive effects when for fixed activator concentrations the regulatory impact of activators on the binding of RNA polymerase to the promoter increases from weak, to moderate, to strong. Second, for appropriate promoter conditions when activator concentrations are increased then the aforementioned re-entrant sequence of less-than-additive, greater-than-additive, and less-than-additive effects is predicted as well. Finally, our model-based analysis suggests that even for weak activators that individually induce only negligible increases in promoter activity, promoter activity can exhibit greater-than-additive responses when transcription factors and RNA polymerase interact by means of three-body interactions. Overall, we show that versatility of transcriptional activation is brought about by nonlinearities of transcriptional response functions and interactions between transcription factors, RNA polymerase and DNA.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Copyright (published version): 2012 Public Library of Science
Keywords: Cooperative Transcriptional Activation;Thermodynamical Modeling;RNA polymerase;DNA transcription
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034439
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:SBI Research Collection

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