Organisms have acquired sophisticated regulatory networks that control gene expression in response to cellular perturbations. Understanding of the mechanisms underlying the coordinated changes in gene expression in response to external and internal stimuli is a fundamental issue in biology.
Recent advances in high-throughput technologies have enabled the measurement of diverse biological information, including gene expression levels, kinetics of gene expression, and interactions among gene expression regulatory molecules. By coupling these technologies with quantitative modeling, we can now uncover the biological roles and mechanisms of gene regulation at the system level.
Researchers at Meiji Pharmaceutical University review the methods using uridine analogs that measure synthesis and decay rates of RNAs, which demonstrate how cells dynamically change the regulation of gene expression in response to both internal and external cues. Next, they discuss the underlying mechanisms of these changes in kinetics, including the functions of transcription factors and RNA-binding proteins. Overall, this review will help to clarify a system-level view of gene expression programs in cells.