Transcriptional Pulsing of a Developmental Gene

Jonathan R. Chubb, Tatjana Trcek, Shailesh M. Shenoy, Robert H. Singer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

427 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It has not been possible to view the transcriptional activity of a single gene within a living eukaryotic cell. It is therefore unclear how long and how frequently a gene is actively transcribed, how this is modulated during differentiation, and how transcriptional events are dynamically coordinated in cell populations. By means of an in vivo RNA detection technique [1-3], we have directly visualized transcription of an endogenous developmental gene. We found discrete "pulses" of gene activity that turn on and off at irregular intervals. Surprisingly, the length and height of these pulses were consistent throughout development. However, there was strong developmental variation in the proportion of cells recruited to the expressing pool. Cells were more likely to reexpress than to initiate new expression, indicating that we directly observe a transcriptional memory. In addition, we used a clustering algorithm to reveal synchronous transcription initiation in neighboring cells. This study represents the first direct visualization of transcriptional pulsing in eukaryotes. Discontinuity of transcription may allow greater flexibility in the gene-expression decisions of a cell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1018-1025
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Biology
Volume16
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - May 23 2006

Fingerprint

Developmental Genes
Transcription
Genes
transcription (genetics)
genes
cells
eukaryotic cells
Gene expression
Clustering algorithms
Eukaryotic Cells
Eukaryota
Visualization
Cells
Cluster Analysis
RNA
Data storage equipment
Gene Expression
gene expression
Population

Keywords

  • DNA
  • RNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Transcriptional Pulsing of a Developmental Gene. / Chubb, Jonathan R.; Trcek, Tatjana; Shenoy, Shailesh M.; Singer, Robert H.

In: Current Biology, Vol. 16, No. 10, 23.05.2006, p. 1018-1025.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Chubb, Jonathan R. ; Trcek, Tatjana ; Shenoy, Shailesh M. ; Singer, Robert H. / Transcriptional Pulsing of a Developmental Gene. In: Current Biology. 2006 ; Vol. 16, No. 10. pp. 1018-1025.
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