Binary and Graded Responses in Gene Networks

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Science's STKE  30 Jul 2002:
Vol. 2002, Issue 143, pp. pe33
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2002.143.pe33

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Although gene expression can be regulated in a graded or a binary fashion, the majority of eukaryotic genes are either fully activated or not expressed at all in individual cells. This binary response might be an inherent property of many eukaryotic promoters. Analysis of transcription under the control of yeast GAL1 promoter suggests, however, that graded and binary modes of transcription are not mutually exclusive, but that both can occur at the same promoter when the activity of different signaling pathways is varied. In view of that, it can be expected that forthcoming experimental studies on the combinatorial effects of signaling and transcriptional mechanisms will reveal new strategies for generating graded or binary responses.

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