Cycling Transcriptional Networks Optimize Energy Utilization on a Genome Scale

Guang Zhong Wang, Stephanie L. Hickey, Lei Shi, Hung Chung Huang, Prachi Nakashe, Nobuya Koike, Benjamin P. Tu, Joseph S. Takahashi, Genevieve Konopka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


Genes expressing circadian RNA rhythms are enriched for metabolic pathways, but the adaptive significance of cyclic gene expression remains unclear. We estimated the genome-wide synthetic and degradative cost of transcription and translation in three organisms and found that the cost of cycling genes is strikingly higher compared to non-cycling genes. Cycling genes are expressed at high levels and constitute the most costly proteins to synthesize in the genome. We demonstrate that metabolic cycling is accelerated in yeast grown under higher nutrient flux and the number of cycling genes increases ~40%, which are achieved by increasing the amplitude and not the mean level of gene expression. These results suggest that rhythmic gene expression optimizes the metabolic cost of global gene expression and that highly expressed genes have been selected to be downregulated in a cyclic manner for energy conservation. Wang etal. assess cyclical gene expression and determine that cycling genes have a greater energetic cost. They experimentally test this energy-saving behavior by altering nutrient access in yeast and observe that more genes cycle with increased nutrients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCell Reports
StateAccepted/In press - Dec 18 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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