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The role of DNA-binding specificity in the evolution of bacterial regulatory networks

AuthorsLozada-Chávez, Irma; Espinosa Angarica, Vladimir; Collado-Vides, Julio; Contreras-Moreira, Bruno ; Contreras-Moreira, Bruno
regulatory network
binding specificity
global regulator
Issue Date2-Jun-2008
CitationJournal of Molecular Biology, 379(3): 627-643
AbstractUnderstanding the mechanisms by which transcriptional regulatory networks (TRNs) change through evolution is a fundamental problem. Here we analyze this question using data from Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis, finding that paralogy relationships are insufficient to explain the global or local role observed for transcription factors (TFs) within regulatory networks. Our results provide a picture in which DNA-binding specificity, a molecular property that can be measured in different ways, is a predictor of the role of transcription factors. In particular, we observe that global regulators consistently display low binding specificities, while displaying comparatively higher expression values in microarray experiments. In addition, in this work we find a strong negative correlation between binding specificity and the number of co-regulators which help coordinate genetic expression at a genomic scale. A close look at several orthologous TFs, including FNR, a regulator found to be global in E. coli and local in B. subtilis, confirms the diagnostic value of specificity in order to understand their regulatory function, and also highlights the importance of evaluating the metabolic and ecological relevance of effectors as another variable in the evolutionary equation of regulatory networks. Finally, a general model is presented that integrates some evolutionary forces and molecular properties, aiming to explain how regulons grow and shrink, as bacteria tune their regulation to increase adaptation.
DescriptionThe definitive version is available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00222836
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