How do bacteria regulate their cellular physiology in response to starvation? Here, we present a detailed characterization of Escherichia coli growth and starvation over a time-course lasting two weeks. We have measured multiple cellular components, including RNA and proteins at deep genomic coverage, as well as lipid modifications and flux through central metabolism. Our study focuses on the physiological response of E. coli in stationary phase as a result of being starved for glucose, not on the genetic adaptation of E. coli to utilize alternative nutrients. In our analysis, we have taken advantage of the temporal correlations within and among RNA and protein abundances to identify systematic trends in gene regulation. Specifically, we have developed a general computational strategy for classifying expression-profile time courses into distinct categories in an unbiased manner. We have also developed, from dynamic models of gene expression, a framework to characterize protein degradation patterns based on the observed temporal relationships between mRNA and protein abundances. By comparing and contrasting our transcriptomic and proteomic data, we have identified several broad physiological trends in the E. coli starvation response. Strikingly, mRNAs are widely down-regulated in response to glucose starvation, presumably as a strategy for reducing new protein synthesis. By contrast, protein abundances display more varied responses. The abundances of many proteins involved in energy-intensive processes mirror the corresponding mRNA profiles while proteins involved in nutrient metabolism remain abundant even though their corresponding mRNAs are down-regulated.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Modeling and Simulation
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Computational Theory and Mathematics