A genetic reporter system to gauge cell proliferation rate

Authors

  • Ryan W.S. Peacock,

    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305; telephone: 650-721-1351; fax: 01 650-725-7294
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  • Clifford L. Wang

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305; telephone: 650-721-1351; fax: 01 650-725-7294
    • Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305; telephone: 650-721-1351; fax: 01 650-725-7294.
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

In higher eukaryotes, E2F transcription factors often drive expression of genes necessary for the cell cycle, notably the G1/S phase transition. With conventional transcriptional reporter systems, expression of a reporter gene from an E2F-responsive promoter would allow one to identify the fraction of cells making this transition. Here, we have engineered an E2F-responsive genetic reporter system that outputs the proliferation rate. The system takes advantage of the long half-lives of fluorescent protein reporters and output signal normalization. By doing so, it converts dynamic pulses of E2F activity into an analog output proportional to the proliferation rate. Such a system should be useful for applications involving high-throughput drug or genetic screens, investigation of cellular environment, and biological engineering. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2011;108:2003–2010. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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