Multiple transcript properties related to translation affect mRNA degradation rates in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Benjamin Neymotin, Victoria Ettorre, David Gresham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Degradation of mRNA contributes to variation in transcript abundance. Studies of individual mRNAs have shown that both cis and trans factors affect mRNA degradation rates. However, the factors underlying transcriptome-wide variation in mRNA degradation rates are poorly understood. We investigated the contribution of different transcript properties to transcriptome-wide degradation rate variation in the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, using multiple regression analysis. We find that multiple transcript properties are significantly associated with variation in mRNA degradation rates, and that a model incorporating these properties explains ~50% of the genome-wide variance. Predictors of mRNA degradation rates include transcript length, ribosome density, biased codon usage, and GC content of the third position in codons. To experimentally validate these factors, we studied individual transcripts expressed from identical promoters. We find that decreasing ribosome density by mutating the first translational start site of a transcript increases its degradation rate. Using coding sequence variants of green fluorescent protein (GFP) that differ only at synonymous sites, we show that increased GC content of the third position of codons results in decreased rates of mRNA degradation. Thus, in steady-state conditions, a large fraction of genome-wide variation in mRNA degradation rates is determined by inherent properties of transcripts, many of which are related to translation, rather than specific regulatory mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3475-3483
Number of pages9
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2016


  • 4-thiouracil
  • Codon usage
  • MRNA degradation
  • Translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Multiple transcript properties related to translation affect mRNA degradation rates in Saccharomyces cerevisiae'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this