Isoform-resolved correlation analysis between mRNA abundance regulation and protein level degradation

Mol Syst Biol. 2020 Mar;16(3):e9170. doi: 10.15252/msb.20199170.


Profiling of biological relationships between different molecular layers dissects regulatory mechanisms that ultimately determine cellular function. To thoroughly assess the role of protein post-translational turnover, we devised a strategy combining pulse stable isotope-labeled amino acids in cells (pSILAC), data-independent acquisition mass spectrometry (DIA-MS), and a novel data analysis framework that resolves protein degradation rate on the level of mRNA alternative splicing isoforms and isoform groups. We demonstrated our approach by the genome-wide correlation analysis between mRNA amounts and protein degradation across different strains of HeLa cells that harbor a high grade of gene dosage variation. The dataset revealed that specific biological processes, cellular organelles, spatial compartments of organelles, and individual protein isoforms of the same genes could have distinctive degradation rate. The protein degradation diversity thus dissects the corresponding buffering or concerting protein turnover control across cancer cell lines. The data further indicate that specific mRNA splicing events such as intron retention significantly impact the protein abundance levels. Our findings support the tight association between transcriptome variability and proteostasis and provide a methodological foundation for studying functional protein degradation.

Keywords: DIA mass spectrometry; alternative splicing; protein turnover; proteomics; pulsed SILAC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Isotope Labeling / methods
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Protein Isoforms / analysis*
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Proteins / analysis*
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Proteolysis
  • Proteomics / methods
  • RNA Isoforms / genetics
  • RNA Isoforms / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Workflow


  • Protein Isoforms
  • Proteins
  • RNA Isoforms
  • RNA, Messenger