The cytoplasmic abundance of mRNAs is strictly controlled through a balance of production and degradation. Whereas the control of mRNA synthesis through transcription has been well characterized, less is known about the regulation of mRNA turnover, and a consensus model explaining the wide variations in mRNA decay rates remains elusive. Here, we combine non-invasive transcriptome-wide mRNA production and stability measurements with selective and acute perturbations to demonstrate that mRNA degradation is tightly coupled to the regulation of translation, and that a competition between translation initiation and mRNA decay -but not codon optimality or elongation- is the major determinant of mRNA stability in yeast. Our refined measurements also reveal a remarkably dynamic transcriptome with an average mRNA half-life of only 4.8 min - much shorter than previously thought. Furthermore, global mRNA destabilization by inhibition of translation initiation induces a dose-dependent formation of processing bodies in which mRNAs can decay over time.
Keywords: S. cerevisiae; chromosomes; decay; gene expression; genetics; genomics; mRNA; translation.
© 2018, Chan et al.