Background: All mRNAs are bound in vivo by proteins to form mRNA-protein complexes (mRNPs), but changes in the composition of mRNPs during posttranscriptional regulation remain largely unexplored. Here, we have analyzed, on a transcriptome-wide scale, how microRNA-mediated repression modulates the associations of the core mRNP components eIF4E, eIF4G, and PABP and of the decay factor DDX6 in human cells.
Results: Despite the transient nature of repressed intermediates, we detect significant changes in mRNP composition, marked by dissociation of eIF4G and PABP, and by recruitment of DDX6. Furthermore, although poly(A)-tail length has been considered critical in post-transcriptional regulation, differences in steady-state tail length explain little of the variation in either PABP association or mRNP organization more generally. Instead, relative occupancy of core components correlates best with gene expression.
Conclusions: These results indicate that posttranscriptional regulatory factors, such as microRNAs, influence the associations of PABP and other core factors, and do so without substantially affecting steady-state tail length.
Keywords: MicroRNAs; Poly(A) tail; mRNA–protein complexes.