Oscillating Cellular Coding System

Science's STKE  26 Oct 2004:
Vol. 2004, Issue 256, pp. tw383
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2562004tw383

The transcription factor nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) is used by different cell types in response to a wide range of stimuli. Once activated in the cytoplasm, it moves into the nucleus to induce the expression of specific target genes before being rapidly inactivated. Nelson et al. combined real-time imaging of single living cells and a computational model to show that maintenance of gene expression in response to a particular stimulus depends on persistent oscillations of the NF-κB complex between these two cell compartments. The role of this oscillatory behavior appears to be to maintain a concentration of activated transcription factor in the nucleus that will ensure the appropriate cellular response.

D. E. Nelson, A. E. C. Ihekwaba, M. Elliott, J. R. Johnson, C. A. Gibney, B. E. Foreman, G. Nelson, V. See, C. A. Horton, D. G. Spiller, S. W. Edwards, H. P. McDowell, J. F. Unitt, E. Sullivan, R. Grimley, N. Benson, D. Broomhead, D. B. Kell, M. R. H. White, Oscillations in NF-κB signaling control the dynamics of gene expression. Science 306, 704-708 (2004). [Abstract] [Full Text]