Differential mRNA translation contributes to gene regulation under non-stress and dehydration stress conditions in Arabidopsis thaliana

Plant J. 2004 Jun;38(5):823-39. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2004.02090.x.


Translational regulation was evaluated for over 2000 genes by measurement of the proportion of individual mRNA species in polysomal (PS) complexes in leaves of non-stressed and moderately dehydration-stressed Arabidopsis. The amount of each mRNA in polysomes ranged from 23 to 97% in non-stressed leaves and was significantly reduced for a large portion of the genes (71%) in response to dehydration. The effect of dehydration on translational status varied extensively between mRNA species. Sixty per cent of the dehydration-inducible mRNAs with twofold or greater increase in abundance maintained PS levels in response to water-deficit stress, while 40% showed impaired ribosome loading (RL). PS association declined significantly for 92% of the mRNAs that displayed a strong decrease in abundance, indicating a relationship between translation and decreased gene transcription and/or mRNA stability. Interestingly, many mRNAs that encode proteins of similar biological function displayed coordinate translational regulation. Thus, the abundance of PS mRNA may provide a more accurate estimate of gene expression than total cellular mRNA because of extensive differential translational regulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / physiology
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / genetics*
  • Genome, Plant
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Polyribosomes / genetics
  • Polyribosomes / metabolism
  • Protein Biosynthesis / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • RNA, Plant / genetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Water / metabolism


  • DNA Primers
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Plant
  • Water