Archive ouverte HAL – Optimal localization patterns in bacterial protein synthesis

Jacky NguyenMichele Castellana 1

Jacky Nguyen, Michele Castellana. Optimal localization patterns in bacterial protein synthesis. Physical Review E , American Physical Society (APS), 2018, 98 (3), ⟨10.1103/PhysRevE.98.032417⟩. ⟨hal-02390875⟩

In $\textit{Escherichia coli}$ bacterium, the molecular compounds involved in protein synthesis, messenger RNAs (mRNAs) and ribosomes, show marked intracellular localization patterns. Yet a quantitative understanding of the physical principles which would allow one to control protein synthesis by designing, bioengineering, and optimizing these localization patterns is still lacking. In this study, we consider a scenario where a synthetic modification of mRNA reaction-diffusion properties allows for controlling the localization and stoichiometry of mRNAs and polysomes$\mathrm{-}$complexes of multiple ribosomes bound to mRNAs. Our analysis demonstrates that protein synthesis can be controlled, e.g., optimally enhanced or inhibited, by leveraging mRNA spatial localization and stoichiometry only, without resorting to alterations of mRNA expression levels. We identify the physical mechanisms that control the protein-synthesis rate, highlighting the importance of colocalization between mRNAs and freely diffusing ribosomes, and the interplay between polysome stoichiometry and excluded-volume effects due to the DNA nucleoid. The genome-wide, quantitative predictions of our work may allow for a direct verification and implementation in cell-biology experiments, where localization patterns and protein-synthesis rates may be monitored by fluorescence microscopy in single cells and populations.

  • 1. LPTMS - Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques