Mechanistic Constraints on the Evolution of Gene Regulatory Networks

1:00pm - 2:00pm / Monday 18th March 2019 / Venue: Lecture Theatre 1 Life Sciences Building
Type: Seminar / Category: Research / Series: GSTT Seminar Series
  • Suitable for: Staff and students with an interest in Genomes, Systems and Therapeutic Targeting
  • Admission: Free
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Speaker: Mato Lagator (Manchester University)

Existing molecular mechanisms in cells constrain the evolutionary trajectories accessible to a population under selection. One way in which molecular mechanisms constrain evolutionary pathways is by shaping the patterns of epistasis (interactions between mutations). Epistatic interactions determine the shape of the adaptive landscape, and in doing so impact how rapidly and effectively a population evolves by defining the accessible evolutionary trajectories. In this talk, I will show how the mechanisms of protein-DNA binding shape the patterns of epistasis between mutations in prokaryotic promoters. I will also discuss how these mechanisms determine the propensity of gene regulatory networks to evolve through regulatory rewiring – making and breaking of network connections. Put together, these results demonstrate how understanding the constraints imposed by molecular mechanisms allows predictions of complex phenomena (such as epistasis) from first principles.