D. Allan Drummond (U Chicago)
Quantitative & Computational Biology
D. Allan Drummond
Dr. Drummond is Assistant Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Human Genetics at the University of Chicago. He received his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology working in the lab of Frances Arnold, then moved to Harvard University where he was a Bauer Fellow before joining the U. Chicago faculty in 2011. His group studies protein synthesis and quality control, using a range of approaches including biochemistry, quantitative proteomics, and evolutionary models to illuminate the causes and consequences of misfolding and aggregation on cellular fitness and physiology.
Noise obscures control of steady-state protein levels
Cells set steady-state protein levels in part through modulating mRNA transcript levels. Modest correlations between global mRNA and protein measurements have been interpreted as evidence that post-transcriptional processes contribute as much or more to protein-level regulation. I will present evidence for the long-neglected alternative that noise in measurements, mostly systematic error, create the illusion of weak transcriptional control. Multiple noise-aware approaches reveal that, in budding yeast growing exponentially in rich medium, transcription largely dictates protein levels. Post-transcriptional regulation’s role in this growth phase appears to be to amplify the transcriptional signal rather than subvert it. I will discuss what we have learned about the sources of measurement noise, starting from the irreproducibility of global mRNA and protein levels across research groups.
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