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Multiplexed Genetic Perturbations of the Regulatory Network of E. coli.

Abstract : Despite advances in DNA sequencing, we have yet to understand how an organism’s phenotype relates to the contents of their genome. However it has become clear that the impact of genes are context dependant. The mere presence of a gene within a genome does not inform us of when it is expressed, and which other genes are expressed along with it. Understanding how gene expression is regulated is a necessary piece of understanding how phenotypes emerge from a given genotype. Transcription factors, which can activate or repress the expression of a gene, form a complex network of interactions between themselves and their targeted genes. This network consists of a hierarchy of groups of strongly connected transcription factors, each relating to distinct cellular processes. Is the structure of this transcriptional regulatory network significant to the transcriptional response of a cell? Here we use a programmable DNA binding protein called CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) to perturb gene expression of global regulators within the transcriptional regulatory network. These global regulators are regulating many distinct cellular processes and have many genetic targets. The CRISPR system allows us to perturb these regulators in all possible combinations, including higher order perturbations with potentially all targeted global regulators perturbed at the same time. We then record both the expression pattern of the transciptome using RNA sequencing, and the fitness of each strain. We find that the structure of the regulatory network increases the dimensionality of the transcriptional response rather than reducing it. This results in significant high order epistasis beyond pair-wise interactions. This has implications for how these networks evolve. The pair-wise epistasis we find between global transcription factors rely on the presence or absence of other perturbations. This implies that other perturbations could act as potentiating mutations. The number of potential evolutionary paths increases with high order epistasis, although this alone tells us nothing about the quality of those paths. Importantly, the replicates for this thesis are still on-going and the data presented here has not yet excluded experimental artefacts.
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Submitted on : Monday, January 6, 2020 - 8:21:08 AM
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Matthew Deyell. Multiplexed Genetic Perturbations of the Regulatory Network of E. coli.. Other [q-bio.OT]. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018USPCC175⟩. ⟨tel-02428480⟩



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