Stochastic differences among clonal cells can initiate cell fate decisions in development or cause cell-to-cell differences in the responses to drugs or extracellular ligands. One hypothesis is that some of this phenotypic variability is caused by stochastic fluctuations in the activities of transcription factors (TFs). We tested this hypothesis in NIH3T3-CG cells using the response to Hedgehog signaling as a model cellular response. Here, we present evidence for the existence of distinct fast- and slow-responding substates in NIH3T3-CG cells. These two substates have distinct expression profiles, and fluctuations in the Prrx1 TF underlie some of the differences in expression and responsiveness between fast and slow cells. Our results show that fluctuations in TFs can contribute to cell-to-cell differences in Hedgehog signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberiyad094
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • cell-to-cell variability
  • single-cell transcriptomics
  • stochastic gene expression


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