Large-scale functional analysis of CRP-mediated feed-forward loops

Chi Dung Yang, Hsi Yuan Huang, Sirjana Shrestha, Yen Hua Chen, Hsien-Da Huang*, Ching-Ping Tseng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Feed-forward loops (FFLs) represent an important and basic network motif to understand specific biological functions. Cyclic-AMP (cAMP) receptor protein (CRP), a transcription factor (TF), mediates catabolite repression and regulates more than 400 genes in response to changes in intracellular concentrations of cAMP in Escherichia coli. CRP participates in some FFLs, such as araBAD and araFGH operons and adapts to fluctuating environmental nutrients, thereby enhancing the survivability of E. coli. Although computational simulations have been conducted to explore the potential functionality of FFLs, a comprehensive study on the functions of all structural types on the basis of in vivo data is lacking. Moreover, the regulatory role of CRP-mediated FFLs (CRP-FFLs) remains obscure. We identified 393 CRP-FFLs in E. coli using EcoCyc and RegulonDB. Dose–response genomic microarray of E. coli revealed dynamic gene expression of each target gene of CRP-FFLs in response to a range of cAMP dosages. All eight types of FFLs were present in CRP regulon with various expression patterns of each CRP-FFL, which were further divided into five functional groups. The microarray and reported regulatory relationships identified 202 CRP-FFLs that were directly regulated by CRP in these eight types of FFLs. Interestingly, 34% (147/432) of genes were directly regulated by CRP and CRP-regulated TFs, which indicates that these CRP-regulated genes were also regulated by other CRP-regulated TFs responding to environmental signals through CRP-FFLs. Furthermore, we applied gene ontology annotation to reveal the biological functions of CRP-FFLs.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number2335
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - 9 Aug 2018


  • Camp receptor protein (CRP)
  • Feed-forward loop (FFL)
  • Transcription factor (TF)


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