Dampening of expression oscillations by synchronous regulation of a microRNA and its target

D. Kim, D. Grun, A. van Oudenaarden

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

The complexity of multicellular organisms requires precise spatiotemporal regulation of gene expression during development. We find that in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans approximately 2,000 transcripts undergo expression oscillations synchronized with larval transitions while thousands of genes are expressed in temporal gradients, similar to known timing regulators. By counting transcripts in individual worms, we show that pulsatile expression of the microRNA (miRNA) lin-4 maintains the temporal gradient of its target lin-14 by dampening its expression oscillations. Our results demonstrate that this insulation is optimal when pulsatile expression of the miRNA and its target is synchronous. We propose that such a miRNA-mediated incoherent feed-forward loop is a potent filter that prevents the propagation of potentially deleterious fluctuations in gene expression during the development of an organism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1337-1344
JournalNature Genetics
Volume45
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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