Development of a tissue-specific ribosome profiling approach in Drosophila enables genome-wide evaluation of translational adaptations

PLoS Genet. 2017 Dec 1;13(12):e1007117. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007117. eCollection 2017 Dec.


Recent advances in next-generation sequencing approaches have revolutionized our understanding of transcriptional expression in diverse systems. However, measurements of transcription do not necessarily reflect gene translation, the process of ultimate importance in understanding cellular function. To circumvent this limitation, biochemical tagging of ribosome subunits to isolate ribosome-associated mRNA has been developed. However, this approach, called TRAP, lacks quantitative resolution compared to a superior technology, ribosome profiling. Here, we report the development of an optimized ribosome profiling approach in Drosophila. We first demonstrate successful ribosome profiling from a specific tissue, larval muscle, with enhanced resolution compared to conventional TRAP approaches. We next validate the ability of this technology to define genome-wide translational regulation. This technology is leveraged to test the relative contributions of transcriptional and translational mechanisms in the postsynaptic muscle that orchestrate the retrograde control of presynaptic function at the neuromuscular junction. Surprisingly, we find no evidence that significant changes in the transcription or translation of specific genes are necessary to enable retrograde homeostatic signaling, implying that post-translational mechanisms ultimately gate instructive retrograde communication. Finally, we show that a global increase in translation induces adaptive responses in both transcription and translation of protein chaperones and degradation factors to promote cellular proteostasis. Together, this development and validation of tissue-specific ribosome profiling enables sensitive and specific analysis of translation in Drosophila.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics
  • Animals
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / methods*
  • Molecular Chaperones / genetics
  • Protein Biosynthesis / genetics*
  • Proteostasis / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Ribosome Subunits / genetics*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA / methods*


  • Molecular Chaperones
  • RNA, Messenger