The fate of the messenger is pre-determined: a new model for regulation of gene expression

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013 Jun-Jul;1829(6-7):643-53. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2013.01.004. Epub 2013 Jan 19.


Recent years have seen a rise in publications demonstrating coupling between transcription and mRNA decay. This coupling most often accompanies cellular processes that involve transitions in gene expression patterns, for example during mitotic division and cellular differentiation and in response to cellular stress. Transcription can affect the mRNA fate by multiple mechanisms. The most novel finding is the process of co-transcriptional imprinting of mRNAs with proteins, which in turn regulate cytoplasmic mRNA stability. Transcription therefore is not only a catalyst of mRNA synthesis but also provides a platform that enables imprinting, which coordinates between transcription and mRNA decay. Here we present an overview of the literature, which provides the evidence of coupling between transcription and decay, review the mechanisms and regulators by which the two processes are coupled, discuss why such coupling is beneficial and present a new model for regulation of gene expression. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: RNA Decay mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytoplasm / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Genomic Imprinting
  • Humans
  • Poly(A)-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • RNA Polymerase II / genetics
  • RNA Stability / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • Ribonucleases / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • Poly(A)-Binding Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • RNA Polymerase II
  • RPB4 protein, S cerevisiae
  • CCR4 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Ribonucleases