UCSD postdoctoral fellow Matthew R. Bennett, left, and bioengineering professor Jeff Hasty are studying the how cells can spontaneously switch from one phenotype to another. (Source: UCSD)
Scientists at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) grew virtual bacterial cells in a computer experiment. They created a two-phenotype model system programmed to grow in ways that matched natural growth. They then recorded the degree to which the two phenotypes varied over time in individual cells. They reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that variability due to epigenetic multistability is larger and persists much longer than they had expected.
The new results suggest that researchers studying bacteria should carefully design their experiments to measure variability due to epigenetic multistability. Even in human cells, multistability may play a role in genes that can alternate between “on” and “off” settings.
Published in Drug Discovery & Development magazine: Vol. 10, No. 12, December, 2007, pp. 16.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery