Delays as Regulators of the Dynamics of Genetic Circuits

A. S. Ribeiro

2016, v.22, Issue 3, 573-594


Time delays in transcription affect the dynamics of prokaryotic genetic circuits, particularly as enhancers of the range of possible behaviors. Relevantly, their duration can be altered by regulatory molecules, which allows rapid cellular responses. Also, they are affected by environmental changes, such as temperature fluctuations. Finally, they are sequence dependent and, thus, are evolvable. Here, we review recent quantitative assessments of delays in transcription events that most affect the dynamics of RNA production in the model organism \textit{Escherichia coli}. Next, we address the degree to which regulatory molecules and temperature can affect both mean and fluctuations of these delays. Finally, we explore the role of these delays as regulatory mechanisms of the dynamics of genetic circuits. We conclude, based on the recent studies here reviewed, that time delays in transcription are powerful, evolvable regulators of the kinetics of gene expression in prokaryotes.

Keywords: dynamics of genetic circuits, time delays


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