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PLoS Genet. 2017 Aug 3;13(8):e1006929. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1006929. eCollection 2017 Aug.

Comprehensive analysis of nucleocytoplasmic dynamics of mRNA in Drosophila cells.

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Division of Gene Regulation, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Eukaryotic mRNAs undergo a cycle of transcription, nuclear export, and degradation. A major challenge is to obtain a global, quantitative view of these processes. Here we measured the genome-wide nucleocytoplasmic dynamics of mRNA in Drosophila cells by metabolic labeling in combination with cellular fractionation. By mathematical modeling of these data we determined rates of transcription, export and cytoplasmic decay for 5420 genes. We characterized these kinetic rates and investigated links with mRNA features, RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) and chromatin states. We found prominent correlations between mRNA decay rate and transcript size, while nuclear export rates are linked to the size of the 3'UTR. Transcription, export and decay rates are each associated with distinct spectra of RBPs. Specific classes of genes, such as those encoding cytoplasmic ribosomal proteins, exhibit characteristic combinations of rate constants, suggesting modular control. Binding of splicing factors is associated with faster rates of export, and our data suggest coordinated regulation of nuclear export of specific functional classes of genes. Finally, correlations between rate constants suggest global coordination between the three processes. Our approach provides insights into the genome-wide nucleocytoplasmic kinetics of mRNA and should be generally applicable to other cell systems.

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