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Microbiology. 2010 Jan;156(Pt 1):14-22. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.033266-0. Epub 2009 Oct 22.

New insights into the regulatory networks of paralogous genes in bacteria.

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Departamento de Microbiología Molecular, Instituto de Biotecnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico.


Extensive genomic studies on gene duplication in model organisms such as Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae have recently been undertaken. In these models, it is commonly considered that a duplication event may include a transcription factor (TF), a target gene, or both. Following a gene duplication episode, varying scenarios have been postulated to describe the evolution of the regulatory network. However, in most of these, the TFs have emerged as the most important and in some cases the only factor shaping the regulatory network as the organism responds to a natural selection process, in order to fulfil its metabolic needs. Recent findings concerning the regulatory role played by elements other than TFs have indicated the need to reassess these early models. Thus, we performed an exhaustive review of paralogous gene regulation in E. coli and Bacillus subtilis based on published information, available in the NCBI PubMed database and in well-established regulatory databases. Our survey reinforces the notion that despite TFs being the most prominent components shaping the regulatory networks, other elements are also important. These include small RNAs, riboswitches, RNA-binding proteins, sigma factors, protein-protein interactions and DNA supercoiling, which modulate the expression of genes involved in particular metabolic processes or induce a more complex response in terms of the regulatory networks of paralogous genes in an integrated interplay with TFs.

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