A universal adaptive translation efficiency profile of proteins

10 July 2009

Yitzhak Pilpel
Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, and
Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School


Technologies to measure translation of proteins are now rapidly emerging, transforming our understanding of the proteome. Yet, unlike transcription research, where regulatory sequence elements and motifs are often well characterized, in the study of translation we are missing many of the sequence features that regulate the process and its efficiency. In this talk I will present our attempts to fill this gap of knowledge. Analyzing dozens of sequenced genomes we found a universally conserved design of gene sequences that governs translation. According to the conserved pattern, translation of genes starts by a low translation efficiency segment, which is then followed by a longer segment of elevated level of efficiency. We provide a model to rationalize the observed design and suggest that it evolved and is repeatedly selected for as it optimizes the process of protein translation and minimizes the cost of expression in cells.

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