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    Using a single-RNA detection technique in live Escherichia coli cells, we measure, for each cell, the waiting time for the production of the first RNA under the control of PBAD promoter after induction by arabinose, and subsequent intervals between transcription events. We find that the kinetics of the arabinose intake system affect mean and diversity in RNA numbers, long after induction. We observed the same effect on Plac/ara-1 promoter, which is inducible by arabinose or by IPTG. Importantly, the distribution of waiting times of Plac/ara-1 is indistinguishable from that of PBAD, if and only if induced by arabinose alone. Finally, RNA production under the control of PBAD is found to be a sub-Poissonian process. We conclude that inducer-dependent waiting times affect mean and cell-to-cell diversity in RNA numbers long after induction, suggesting that intake mechanisms have non-negligible effects on the phenotypic diversity of cell populations in natural, fluctuating environments.


    Jarno Mäkelä, Meenakshisundaram Kandhavelu, Samuel M D Oliveira, Jerome G Chandraseelan, Jason Lloyd-Price, Juha Peltonen, Olli Yli-Harja, Andre S Ribeiro. In vivo single-molecule kinetics of activation and subsequent activity of the arabinose promoter. Nucleic acids research. 2013 Jul;41(13):6544-52

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    PMID: 23644285

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