Genetic switches are prevalent in nature and provide cells with a strategy to adapt to changing environments. The GAL switch is an intriguing example which is not understood in all detail. The GAL switch allows organisms to metabolize galactose, and controls whether the machinery responsible for the galactose metabolism is turned on or off. Currently, it is not known exactly how the galactose signal is sensed by the transcriptional machinery. Here we utilize quantitative tools to understand the S. cerevisiae cell response to galactose challenge, and to analyze the plausible molecular mechanisms underlying its operation. We work at a population level to develop a dynamic model based on the interplay of the key regulatory proteins Gal4p, Gal80p, and Gal3p. To our knowledge, the model presented here is the first to reproduce qualitatively the bistable network behavior found experimentally. Given the current understanding of the GAL circuit induction (Wightman et al., 2008; Jiang et al., 2009), we propose that the most likely in vivo mechanism leading to the transcriptional activation of the GAL genes is the physical interaction between galactose-activated Gal3p and Gal80p, with the complex Gal3p-Gal80p remaining bound at the GAL promoters. Our mathematical model is in agreement with the flow cytometry profiles of wild type, gal3? and gal80? mutant strains from Acar et al. (2005), and involves a fraction of actively transcribing cells with the same qualitative features as in the data set collected by Acar et al. (2010). Furthermore, the computational modeling provides an explanation for the contradictory results obtained by independent laboratories when tackling experimentally the issue of binary versus graded response to galactose induction.
|Evidence ID||Analyze ID||Interactor||Interactor Systematic Name||Interactor||Interactor Systematic Name||Type||Assay||Annotation||Action||Modification||Phenotype||Source||Reference||Note|
|Evidence ID||Analyze ID||Gene||Gene Systematic Name||Gene Ontology Term||Gene Ontology Term ID||Qualifier||Aspect||Method||Evidence||Source||Assigned On||Reference||Annotation Extension|
|Evidence ID||Analyze ID||Gene||Gene Systematic Name||Phenotype||Experiment Type||Experiment Type Category||Mutant Information||Strain Background||Chemical||Details||Reference|
|Evidence ID||Analyze ID||Regulator||Regulator Systematic Name||Target||Target Systematic Name||Experiment||Conditions||Strain||Source||Reference|