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Issue 2, 2012
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Probabilistic RNA partitioning generates transient increases in the normalized variance of RNA numbers in synchronized populations of Escherichia coli

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Abstract

We explore the effects of probabilistic RNA partitioning during cell division on the normalized variance of RNA numbers across generations of bacterial populations. We first characterize these effects in model cell populations, where gene expression is modeled as a delayed stochastic process, as a function of the synchrony in cell division, the rate of division, and the RNA degradation rate. We further explore the additional variance that arises if the partitioning is biased. Next, in Escherichia colicells expressing RNA tagged with MS2d–GFP, we measured the normalized variance of RNA numbers across several generations, with cell divisions synchronized by heat shock. We show that synchronized cell populations exhibit transient increases in normalized variance following cell divisions, as predicted by the model, which are not observed in unsynchronized populations. We conclude that errors in partitioning of RNA molecules generate diversity between the offspring of individual bacteria and thus constitute a form of reproductive bet-hedging.

Graphical abstract: Probabilistic RNA partitioning generates transient increases in the normalized variance of RNA numbers in synchronized populations of Escherichia coli

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Publication details

The article was received on 11 Mar 2011, accepted on 13 Oct 2011 and first published on 03 Nov 2011


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C1MB05100H
Citation: Mol. BioSyst., 2012,8, 565-571
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    Probabilistic RNA partitioning generates transient increases in the normalized variance of RNA numbers in synchronized populations of Escherichia coli

    J. Lloyd-Price, M. Lehtivaara, M. Kandhavelu, S. Chowdhury, A. Muthukrishnan, O. Yli-Harja and A. S. Ribeiro, Mol. BioSyst., 2012, 8, 565
    DOI: 10.1039/C1MB05100H

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