Universal protein distributions in a model of cell growth and division

Naama Brenner, C. M. Newman, Dino Osmanović, Yitzhak Rabin, Hanna Salman, D. L. Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Protein distributions measured under a broad set of conditions in bacteria and yeast were shown to exhibit a common skewed shape, with variances depending quadratically on means. For bacteria these properties were reproduced by temporal measurements of protein content, showing accumulation and division across generations. Here we present a stochastic growth-and-division model with feedback which captures these observed properties. The limiting copy number distribution is calculated exactly, and a single parameter is found to determine the distribution shape and the variance-to-mean relation. Estimating this parameter from bacterial temporal data reproduces the measured distribution shape with high accuracy and leads to predictions for future experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number042713
Pages (from-to)042713
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number4
StatePublished - 23 Oct 2015

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Physical Society.


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