Our post-doc, Fabien Moretto, has published an article in Nature Communications! Congrats Fabien, this paper's been a long time coming!
This work was done in collaboration with the lab of Andreas Doncic at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Fabien and the other co-authors showed that a master regulator gene orchestrates transcription of two contiguous long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) within its own promoter.
IME1 is the master regulator for the yeast cell fate's decision to undergo a binary cell fate decision - to sporulate or not. In an unusual regulatory circuit involving two lncRNAs, several transcription factors, and local chromatin changes, IME1 can stimulate its own promoter. This local stimulation promotes IME1 expression and increases the efficiency of sporulation. By tracking the accumulation of IME1 in cells where the regulatory circuit was perturbed, they formulated a simple mathematical model to simulate the feedback loop. This circuit might have evolved to tightly control expression of the master regulator in response to prolonged starvation or transient nutrient deprivation.
I particularly like the single-molecule RNA FISH analysis of this paper, and we've managed to integrate some of it into my project as well. We've got a nice story in the works!