Cis-Regulatory Logic Produces Gene-Expression Noise Describing Phenotypic Heterogeneity in Bacteria

Debajyoti Chowdhury, Chao Wang, Aiping Lu*, Hailong Zhu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Gene transcriptional process is random. It occurs in bursts and follows single-molecular kinetics. Intermittent bursts are measured based on their frequency and size. They influence temporal fluctuations in the abundance of total mRNA and proteins by generating distinct transcriptional variations referred to as “noise”. Noisy expression induces uncertainty because the association between transcriptional variation and the extent of gene expression fluctuation is ambiguous. The promoter architecture and remote interference of different cis-regulatory elements are the crucial determinants of noise, which is reflected in phenotypic heterogeneity. An alternative perspective considers that cellular parameters dictating genome-wide transcriptional kinetics follow a universal pattern. Research on noise and systematic perturbations of promoter sequences reinforces that both gene-specific and genome-wide regulation occur across species ranging from bacteria and yeast to animal cells. Thus, deciphering gene-expression noise is essential across different genomics applications. Amidst the mounting conflict, it is imperative to reconsider the scope, progression, and rational construction of diversified viewpoints underlying the origin of the noise. Here, we have established an indication connecting noise, gene expression variations, and bacterial phenotypic variability. This review will enhance the understanding of gene-expression noise in various scientific contexts and applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number698910
JournalFrontiers in Genetics
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

User-Defined Keywords

  • combinatorial regulation
  • gene expression noise
  • logic gates
  • phenotypic heterogeneity
  • promoter architecture


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