Genome-wide analysis of mRNA translation profiles in Saccharomyces cerevisiae


We have analyzed the translational status of each mRNA in rapidly growing Saccharomyces cerevisiae. mRNAs were separated by velocity sedimentation on a sucrose gradient, and 14 fractions across the gradient were analyzed by quantitative microarray analysis, providing a profile of ribosome association with mRNAs for thousands of genes. For most genes, the majority of mRNA molecules were associated with ribosomes and presumably engaged in translation. This systematic approach enabled us to recognize genes with unusual behavior. For 43 genes, most mRNA molecules were not associated with ribosomes, suggesting that they may be translationally controlled. For 53 genes, including GCN4, CPA1, and ICY2, three genes for which translational control is known to play a key role in regulation, most mRNA molecules were associated with a single ribosome. The number of ribosomes associated with mRNAs increased with increasing length of the putative protein-coding sequence, consistent with longer transit times for ribosomes translating longer coding sequences. The density at which ribosomes were distributed on each mRNA (i.e., the number of ribosomes per unit ORF length) was well below the maximum packing density for nearly all mRNAs, consistent with initiation as the rate-limiting step in translation. Global analysis revealed an unexpected correlation: Ribosome density decreases with increasing ORF length. Models to account for this surprising observation are discussed.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 100 (7): 3889–3894