Allele-Selective Transcriptome Recruitment to Polysomes Primed for Translation: Protein-Coding and Noncoding RNAs, and RNA Isoforms

PLoS One. 2015 Sep 2;10(9):e0136798. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136798. eCollection 2015.


mRNA translation into proteins is highly regulated, but the role of mRNA isoforms, noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs), and genetic variants remains poorly understood. mRNA levels on polysomes have been shown to correlate well with expressed protein levels, pointing to polysomal loading as a critical factor. To study regulation and genetic factors of protein translation we measured levels and allelic ratios of mRNAs and ncRNAs (including microRNAs) in lymphoblast cell lines (LCL) and in polysomal fractions. We first used targeted assays to measure polysomal loading of mRNA alleles, confirming reported genetic effects on translation of OPRM1 and NAT1, and detecting no effect of rs1045642 (3435C>T) in ABCB1 (MDR1) on polysomal loading while supporting previous results showing increased mRNA turnover of the 3435T allele. Use of high-throughput sequencing of complete transcript profiles (RNA-Seq) in three LCLs revealed significant differences in polysomal loading of individual RNA classes and isoforms. Correlated polysomal distribution between protein-coding and non-coding RNAs suggests interactions between them. Allele-selective polysome recruitment revealed strong genetic influence for multiple RNAs, attributable either to differential expression of RNA isoforms or to differential loading onto polysomes, the latter defining a direct genetic effect on translation. Genes identified by different allelic RNA ratios between cytosol and polysomes were enriched with published expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) affecting RNA functions, and associations with clinical phenotypes. Polysomal RNA-Seq combined with allelic ratio analysis provides a powerful approach to study polysomal RNA recruitment and regulatory variants affecting protein translation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B / genetics
  • Alleles*
  • Animals
  • Arylamine N-Acetyltransferase / genetics
  • CHO Cells
  • Cell Line
  • Cricetulus
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Polyribosomes / genetics*
  • Protein Biosynthesis*
  • RNA Isoforms / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • RNA, Untranslated / genetics*
  • Receptors, Opioid, mu / genetics
  • Transcriptome*


  • ABCB1 protein, human
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B
  • Isoenzymes
  • OPRM1 protein, human
  • RNA Isoforms
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Untranslated
  • Receptors, Opioid, mu
  • Arylamine N-Acetyltransferase
  • N-acetyltransferase 1