Connections Underlying Translation and mRNA Stability

Aditya Radhakrishnan, Rachel Green

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Gene expression and regulation in organisms minimally depends on transcription by RNA polymerase and on the stability of the RNA product (for both coding and non-coding RNAs). For coding RNAs, gene expression is further influenced by the amount of translation by the ribosome and by the stability of the protein product. The stabilities of these two classes of RNA, non-coding and coding, vary considerably: tRNAs and rRNAs tend to be long lived while mRNAs tend to be more short lived. Even among mRNAs, however, there is a considerable range in stability (ranging from seconds to hours in bacteria and up to days in metazoans), suggesting a significant role for stability in the regulation of gene expression. Here, we review recent experiments from bacteria, yeast and metazoans indicating that the stability of most mRNAs is broadly impacted by the actions of ribosomes that translate them. Ribosomal recognition of defective mRNAs triggers “mRNA surveillance” pathways that target the mRNA for degradation [Shoemaker and Green (2012) ]. More generally, even the stability of perfectly functional mRNAs appears to be dictated by overall rates of translation by the ribosome [Herrick et al. (1990), Presnyak et al. (2015) ]. Given that mRNAs are synthesized for the purpose of being translated into proteins, it is reassuring that such intimate connections between mRNA and the ribosome can drive biological regulation. In closing, we consider the likelihood that these connections between protein synthesis and mRNA stability are widespread or whether other modes of regulation dominate the mRNA stability landscape in higher organisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3558-3564
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of molecular biology
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 11 2016


  • codon optimality
  • mRNA decay
  • mRNA surveillance
  • microRNAs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Connections Underlying Translation and mRNA Stability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this