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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2005 Apr;15(2):125-35.

Transcriptional regulation by the numbers: applications.

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Physics Department, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02454, USA.


With the increasing amount of experimental data on gene expression and regulation, there is a growing need for quantitative models to describe the data and relate them to their respective context. Thermodynamic models provide a useful framework for the quantitative analysis of bacterial transcription regulation. This framework can facilitate the quantification of vastly different forms of gene expression from several well-characterized bacterial promoters that are regulated by one or two species of transcription factors; it is useful because it requires only a few parameters. As such, it provides a compact description useful for higher-level studies (e.g. of genetic networks) without the need to invoke the biochemical details of every component. Moreover, it can be used to generate hypotheses on the likely mechanisms of transcriptional control.

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