Absolute Quantification of Transcription Factors Reveals Principles of Gene Regulation in Erythropoiesis.
Gillespie MA., Palii CG., Sanchez-Taltavull D., Shannon P., Longabaugh WJR., Downes DJ., Sivaraman K., Espinoza HM., Hughes JR., Price ND., Perkins TJ., Ranish JA., Brand M.
Dynamic cellular processes such as differentiation are driven by changes in the abundances of transcription factors (TFs). However, despite years of studies, our knowledge about the protein copy number of TFs in the nucleus is limited. Here, by determining the absolute abundances of 103 TFs and co-factors during the course of human erythropoiesis, we provide a dynamic and quantitative scale for TFs in the nucleus. Furthermore, we establish the first gene regulatory network of cell fate commitment that integrates temporal protein stoichiometry data with mRNA measurements. The model revealed quantitative imbalances in TFs' cross-antagonistic relationships that underlie lineage determination. Finally, we made the surprising discovery that, in the nucleus, co-repressors are dramatically more abundant than co-activators at the protein level, but not at the RNA level, with profound implications for understanding transcriptional regulation. These analyses provide a unique quantitative framework to understand transcriptional regulation of cell differentiation in a dynamic context.