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Open Access Research article

Co-occurrence of transcription and translation gene regulatory features underlies coordinated mRNA and protein synthesis

Ana Tamarkin-Ben-Harush1, Edna Schechtman2 and Rivka Dikstein1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biological Chemistry, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel

2 Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva 84105, Israel

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BMC Genomics 2014, 15:688  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-688

Published: 19 August 2014

Abstract

Background

Variability in protein levels is generated through intricate control of the different gene decoding phases. Presently little is known about the links between the various gene expression stages. Here we investigated the relationship between transcription and translation regulatory properties encoded in mammalian genes.

Results

We found that the TATA-box, a core promoter element known to enhance transcriptional output, is associated not only with higher mRNA levels but also with positive translation regulatory features and elevated translation efficiency. Further investigation revealed general association between transcription and translation regulatory trends. Specifically, translation inhibitory features such as the presence of upstream AUG (uAUG) and increased lengths of the 5′UTR, the coding sequence and the 3′UTR, are strongly associated with lower translation as well as lower transcriptional rate.

Conclusions

Our findings reveal that co-occurrence of several gene-encoded transcription and translation regulatory features with the same trend substantially contributes to the final mRNA and protein expression levels and enables their coordination.

Keywords:
TATA-box; TATA-less; Transcription; Translation; uAUG; 5′UTR; 3′UTR; uORF