Partitioning Variability of a Compartmentalized In Vitro Transcriptional Thresholding Circuit
journal contributionposted on 16.10.2015, 00:00 by Korbinian Kapsner, Friedrich C. Simmel
Encapsulation of in vitro biochemical reaction circuits into small, cell-sized compartments can result in considerable variations in the dynamical properties of the circuits. As a model system, we here investigate a simple in vitro transcriptional reaction circuit, which generates an ultrasensitive fluorescence response when the concentration of an RNA transcript reaches a preset threshold. The reaction circuit is compartmentalized into spherical water-in-oil microemulsion droplets, and the reaction progress is monitored by fluorescence microscopy. A quantitative statistical analysis of thousands of individual droplets ranging in size from a few up to 20 μm reveals a strong variability in effective RNA production rates, which by computational modeling is traced back to a larger-than-Poisson variability in RNAP activities in the droplets. The noise level in terms of the noise strength (the Fano factor) is strongly dependent on the ratio between transcription templates and polymerases, and increases for higher template concentrations.
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template concentrationsvariabilityultrasensitive fluorescence response20 μ mreaction circuitsnoise leveltranscription templatesVitro Transcriptional Thresholding CircuitEncapsulationreaction circuitreaction progresstranscriptional reaction circuitRNA production ratesdropletsPartitioning VariabilityRNA transcriptmodel systemnoise strengthRNAP activitiesFano factorfluorescence microscopy