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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter April 22, 2019

Ageing and sources of transcriptional heterogeneity

Chrysa Nikopoulou , Swati Parekh and Peter Tessarz ORCID logo EMAIL logo
From the journal Biological Chemistry


Cellular heterogeneity is an important contributor to biological function and is employed by cells, tissues and organisms to adapt, compensate, respond, defend and/or regulate specific processes. Research over the last decades has revealed that transcriptional noise is a major driver for cell-to-cell variability. In this review we will discuss sources of transcriptional variability, in particular bursting of gene expression and how it could contribute to cellular states and fate decisions. We will highlight recent developments in single cell sequencing technologies that make it possible to address cellular heterogeneity in unprecedented detail. Finally, we will review recent literature, in which these new technologies are harnessed to address pressing questions in the field of ageing research, such as transcriptional noise and cellular heterogeneity in the course of ageing.


We apologise to all researchers in the field whose research we were not able to cite due to space constraints. We would like to thank members of the Tessarz laboratory for comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by the Max Planck Society.


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Received: 2018-11-30
Accepted: 2019-03-27
Published Online: 2019-04-22
Published in Print: 2019-06-26

©2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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