Knockdown of the mRNA encoding the ribosomal protein eL38 in mammalian cells causes a substantial reorganization of genomic transcription

Biochimie. 2021 May:184:132-142. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2021.02.017. Epub 2021 Mar 3.


The ribosomal protein eL38 is a component of the mammalian translation machine. The deletion of the Rpl38 locus in mice results in the Tail-short (Ts) mutant phenotype characterized by a shortened tail and other defects in the axial skeleton development. Here, using the next-generation sequencing of total RNA from HEK293 cells knocked down of eL38 mRNA by transfection with specific siRNAs, we examined the effect of reduced eL38 content on genomic transcription. An approximately 4-fold decrease in the level of eL38 was shown to cause changes in the expression of nearly 1500 genes. Among the down-regulated genes, there were those responsible for p53 activity, Ca2+ metabolism and several signaling processes, as well as genes involved in the organization and functioning of the cytoskeleton. The genes related to rRNA processing and translation, along with many others, including those whose dysregulation is associated with developmental disorders, turned out to be up-regulated. Thus, we demonstrated that the decreased RPL38 expression leads to a significant reorganization of genomic transcription. Our findings suggest a possible link between the balance of eL38 and genes implicated in osteogenesis, thereby contributing to the elucidation of the reasons for the appearance of the above Ts mutant phenotype in animals.

Keywords: HEK293 cells; Knockdown of ribosomal protein eL38 mRNA; Next-generation sequencing; RNA-seq; eL38-associated processes; eL38-dependent genes.

MeSH terms

  • Genome, Human*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Ribosomal Proteins / genetics
  • Ribosomal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Ribosomal Proteins
  • RPL38 protein, human