Stochasticity of gene products from transcriptional pulsing

Srividya Iyer-Biswas, F. Hayot, C. Jayaprakash

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128 Scopus citations


Transcriptional pulsing has been observed in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes and plays a crucial role in cell-to-cell variability of protein and mRNA numbers. An important issue is how the time constants associated with episodes of transcriptional bursting and mRNA and protein degradation rates lead to different cellular mRNA and protein distributions, starting from the transient regime leading to the steady state. We address this by deriving and then investigating the exact time-dependent solution of the master equation for a transcriptional pulsing model of mRNA distributions. We find a plethora of results. We show that, among others, bimodal and long-tailed (power-law) distributions occur in the steady state as the rate constants are varied over biologically significant time scales. Since steady state may not be reached experimentally we present results for the time evolution of the distributions. Because cellular behavior is determined by proteins, we also investigate the effect of the different mRNA distributions on the corresponding protein distributions using numerical simulations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number031911
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 Mar 2009


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