1Lab of Control and Systems Biology, Department of Electrical Engineering, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, 300, Taiwan. 2Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of Chicago, 1101 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL, 60637, U.S.A. 3Genomics Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.
Unicellular organisms such as yeasts have evolved mechanisms to respond to environmental stresses by rapidly reorganizing the gene expression program. Although many stress-response genes in yeast have been discovered by DNA microarrays, the stress-response transcription factors (TFs) that regulate these stress-response genes remain to be investigated. In this study, we use a dynamic system model of gene regulation to describe the mechanism of how TFs may control a gene’s expression. Then, based on the dynamic system model, we develop the Stress Regulator Identification Algorithm (SRIA) to identify stress-response TFs for six kinds of stresses. We identified some general stress-response TFs that respond to various stresses and some specific stress-response TFs that respond to one specifi c stress. The biological significance of our findings is validated by the literature. We found that a small number of TFs is probably suffi cient to control a wide variety of expression patterns in yeast under different stresses. Two implications can be inferred from this observation. First, the response mechanisms to different stresses may have a bow-tie structure. Second, there may be regulatory cross-talks among different stress responses. In conclusion, this study proposes a network of stress-response regulators and the details of their actions.
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