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Symmetry in the Language of Gene Expression: A Survey of Gene Promoter Networks in Multiple Bacterial Species and Non-σ Regulons

Author(s): Preston R. Aldrich | Robert K. Horsley | Stefan M. Turcic

Journal: Symmetry
ISSN 2073-8994

Volume: 3;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 750;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: fractal | information entropy | power-law | regulon | systems biology | transcription

The language of gene expression displays topological symmetry. An important step during gene expression is the binding of transcriptional proteins to DNA promoters adjacent to a gene. Some proteins bind to many promoters in a genome, defining a regulon of genes wherein each promoter might vary in DNA sequence relative to the average consensus. Here we examine the linguistic organization of gene promoter networks, wherein each node in the network represents a promoter and links between nodes represent the extent of base pair-sharing. Prior work revealed a fractal nucleus in several σ-factor regulons from Escherichia coli. We extend these findings to show fractal nuclei in gene promoter networks from three bacterial species, E. coli, Bacillus subtilis, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. We surveyed several non-σ transcription factors from these species and found that many contain a nucleus that is both visually and numerically fractal. Promoter footprint size scaled as a negative power-law with both information entropy and fractal dimension, while the latter two parameters scaled positively and linearly. The fractal dimension of the diffuse networks (dB = ~1.7) was close to that expected of a diffusion limited aggregation process, confirming prior predictions as to a possible mechanism for development of this structure.
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