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FEBS J. 2012 Sep;279(18):3501-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2012.08571.x. Epub 2012 Apr 10.

Post-transcriptional regulatory networks play a key role in noise reduction that is conserved from micro-organisms to mammals.

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  • 1Department of Haematology, Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, University of Cambridge, UK.


RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) are core regulators of mRNA transcript stability and translation in prokaryotes and eukaryotes alike. Genome-wide studies in yeast have shown intriguing relationships between the expression dynamics of RBPs, the structure of post-transcriptional regulatory networks of RBP-mRNA binding interactions and noise reduction in post-transcriptionally regulated expression profiles. In the present study, we assembled and compared the genomic properties of RBPs and integrated transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulatory networks in four species: Escherichia coli, yeast, mouse and human. We found that RBPs are consistently regulated to have minimal levels of protein noise, that known noise-buffering network motifs are enriched in the integrated networks and that post-transcriptional feedback loops act as regulators of other regulators. These results support a general model where RBPs are the key regulators of stochastic noise-buffering in numerous downstream cellular processes. The currently available datasets do not allow clarification of whether post-transcriptional regulation by RBPs and by noncoding RNAs plays a similar or distinct role, although we found evidence that specific combinations of transcription factors, RBPs and micro-RNAs jointly regulate known disease pathways in humans, suggesting complementarity rather than redundancy between both modes of post-transcriptional regulation.

© 2012 The Authors Journal compilation © 2012 FEBS.

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