Plants utilise ancient conserved peptide upstream open reading frames in stress-responsive translational regulation

Plant Cell Environ. 2022 Apr;45(4):1229-1241. doi: 10.1111/pce.14277. Epub 2022 Feb 15.


The regulation of protein synthesis plays an important role in the growth and development of all organisms. Upstream open reading frames (uORFs) are commonly found in eukaryotic messenger RNA transcripts and typically attenuate the translation of associated downstream main ORFs (mORFs). Conserved peptide uORFs (CPuORFs) are a rare subset of uORFs, some of which have been shown to conditionally regulate translation by ribosome stalling. Here, we show that Arabidopsis CPuORF19, CPuORF46 and CPuORF47, which are ancient in origin, regulate translation of any downstream ORF, in response to the agriculturally significant environmental signals, heat stress and water limitation. Consequently, these CPuORFs represent a versatile toolkit for inducible gene expression with broad applications. Finally, we note that different classes of CPuORFs may operate during distinct phases of translation, which has implications for the bioengineering of these regulatory factors.

Keywords: 5′-UTR; 5′-leader; Arabidopsis; CPuORF; abiotic stress; ribosome stalling; translation regulation; uORF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis* / genetics
  • Open Reading Frames / genetics
  • Peptides / genetics
  • Plants / genetics
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Ribosomes* / genetics


  • Peptides