Unpredictable Wiring Diagrams

Science's STKE  28 May 2002:
Vol. 2002, Issue 134, pp. tw190
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2002.134.tw190

Making predictions of the behavior of genetic networks may be even more complicatd than previously thought. Guet et al. (see the Perspective by Wigler and Mishra) created libraries of synthetic genetic networks in Escherichia coli. LacI, TetR, and lambda CI, along with five promoters regulated by these proteins, were linked together in various orders on plasmids. Two chemical inducers that change the binding state of LacI and TetR were used as inputs, and a fluorescent reporter of activity was used as the output. There were surprises even within such well-characterized components. A single swap of the connections between promoter and DNA-binding protein could dramatically change the behavior of the network.

C. C. Guet, M. B. Elowitz, W. Hsing, S. Leibler, Combinational synthesis of genetic networks. Science 296, 1466-1470 (2002). [Abstract] [Full Text]

M. Wigler, B. Mishra, Wild by nature. Science 296, 1407-1408 (2002). [Summary] [Full Text]