BibTex format

author = {Ciechonska, M and Sturrock, M and Grob, A and Larrouy-Maumus, G and Shahrezaei, V and Isalan, M},
doi = {pnasnexus/pgac069},
journal = {PNAS Nexus},
pages = {1--13},
title = {Emergent expression of fitness-conferring genes by phenotypic selection},
url = {},
volume = {1},
year = {2022}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Genotypic and phenotypic adaptation is the consequence of ongoing natural selection in populations and is key to predicting and preventing drug resistance. Whereas classic antibiotic persistence is all-or-nothing, here we demonstrate that an antibiotic resistance gene displays linear dose-responsive selection for increased expression in proportion to rising antibiotic concentration in growing E. coli populations. Furthermore, we report the potentially wide-spread nature of this form of emergent gene expression by instantaneous phenotypic selection process under bactericidal and bacteriostatic antxibiotic treatment, as well as an amino acid synthesis pathway enzyme under a range of auxotrophic conditions. We propose an analogy to Ohm’s law in electricity (V=IR) where selection pressure acts similarly to voltage (V), gene expression to current (I), and resistance (R) to cellular machinery constraints and costs. Lastly, mathematical modelling using agent-based models of stochastic gene expression in growing populations and Bayesian model selection reveal that the emergent gene expression mechanism requires variability in gene expression within an isogenic population, and a cellular ‘memory’ from positive feedbacks between growth and expression of any fitness-conferring gene. Finally, we discuss the connection of the observed phenomenon to a previously described general fluctuation-response relationship in biology.
AU - Ciechonska,M
AU - Sturrock,M
AU - Grob,A
AU - Larrouy-Maumus,G
AU - Shahrezaei,V
AU - Isalan,M
DO - pnasnexus/pgac069
EP - 13
PY - 2022///
SN - 2752-6542
SP - 1
TI - Emergent expression of fitness-conferring genes by phenotypic selection
T2 - PNAS Nexus
UR -
UR -
UR -
VL - 1
ER -