Precise regulation of mRNA decay is fundamental for robust yet not exaggerated inflammatory responses to pathogens. However, a global model integrating regulation and functional consequences of inflammation-associated mRNA decay remains to be established. Using time-resolved high-resolution RNA binding analysis of the mRNA-destabilizing protein tristetraprolin (TTP), an inflammation-limiting factor, we qualitatively and quantitatively characterize TTP binding positions in the transcriptome of immunostimulated macrophages. We identify pervasive destabilizing and non-destabilizing TTP binding, including a robust intronic binding, showing that TTP binding is not sufficient for mRNA destabilization. A low degree of flanking RNA structuredness distinguishes occupied from silent binding motifs. By functionally relating TTP binding sites to mRNA stability and levels, we identify a TTP-controlled switch for the transition from inflammatory into the resolution phase of the macrophage immune response. Mapping of binding positions of the mRNA-stabilizing protein HuR reveals little target and functional overlap with TTP, implying a limited co-regulation of inflammatory mRNA decay by these proteins. Our study establishes a functionally annotated and navigable transcriptome-wide atlas (http://ttp-atlas.univie.ac.at) of cis-acting elements controlling mRNA decay in inflammation.
Keywords: PAR‐CLIP; inflammation; mRNA decay; macrophage.
© 2016 The Authors. Published under the terms of the CC BY 4.0 license.