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PLoS Genet. 2013;9(10):e1003739. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003739. Epub 2013 Oct 3.

Conserved translatome remodeling in nematode species executing a shared developmental transition.

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Department of Genetics, Stanford University, Stanford, California, United States of America ; Department of Pathology, Stanford University, Stanford, California, United States of America.


Nematodes of the genus Caenorhabditis enter a developmental diapause state after hatching in the absence of food. To better understand the relative contributions of distinct regulatory modalities to gene expression changes associated with this developmental transition, we characterized genome-wide changes in mRNA abundance and translational efficiency associated with L1 diapause exit in four species using ribosome profiling and mRNA-seq. We found a strong tendency for translational regulation and mRNA abundance processes to act synergistically, together effecting a dramatic remodeling of the gene expression program. While gene-specific differences were observed between species, overall translational dynamics were broadly and functionally conserved. A striking, conserved feature of the response was strong translational suppression of ribosomal protein production during L1 diapause, followed by activation upon resumed development. On a global scale, ribosome footprint abundance changes showed greater similarity between species than changes in mRNA abundance, illustrating a substantial and genome-wide contribution of translational regulation to evolutionary maintenance of stable gene expression.

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