Wednesday, August 19 2020
15:00 - 16:00

IMSc Webinar

Governing principles of cellular decision-making: gene regulation

Sandeep Choubey

MPI-PKS Dresden

Cells constantly make decisions regarding which genes to express and which genes not to express based on intra-cellular and environmental cues. By doing so, they generate and maintain cell identity, react to changing milieu, and execute developmental programs. While the identities of the various molecular players involved in regulating gene expression are known, the physical principles that govern their action remain elusive. Jacques Monod once famously asserted that 'Anything found to be true of E. coli must also be true of elephants'. Using examples from e. coli and human, I will discuss how this assertion is being challenged; an intriguing picture of gene regulation is emerging in higher organisms wherein transcription factors, co-factors, etc. form liquid-like condensates in the vicinity of the DNA to regulate gene expression. Such collective behavior of transcription factors stands in sharp contrast to the view of single transcription factor molecules regulating gene expression in e. coli, for instance. I will discuss my attempts to unravel the grammar of gene regulation in cells ranging from bacteria to higher organisms using tools from statistical mechanics.


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