Posttranscriptional control of gene expression in yeast

John Mccarthy, J. E G McCarthy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Studies of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae have greatly advanced our understanding of the posttranscriptional steps of eukaryotic gene expression. Given the wide range of experimental tools applicable to S. cerevisiae and the recent determination of its complete genomic sequence, many of the key challenges of the posttranscriptional control field can be tackled particularly effectively by using this organism. This article reviews the current knowledge of the cellular components and mechanisms related to translation and mRNA decay, with the emphasis on the molecular basis for rate control and gene regulation. Recent progress in characterizing translation factors and their protein-protein and RNA-protein interactions has been rapid. Against the background of a growing body of structural information, the review discusses the thermodynamic and kinetic principles that govern the translation process. As in prokaryotic systems, translational initiation is a key point of control. Modulation of the activities of translational initiation factors imposes global regulation in the cell, while structural features of particular 5' untranslated regions, such as upstream open reading frames and effector binding sites, allow for gene-specific regulation. Recent data have revealed many new details of the molecular mechanisms involved while providing insight into the functional overlaps and molecular networking that are apparently a key feature of evolving cellular systems. An overall picture of the mechanisms governing mRNA decay has only very recently begun to develop. The latest work has revealed new information about the mRNA decay pathways, the components of the mRNA degradation machinery, and the way in which these might relate to the translation apparatus. Overall, major challenges still to be addressed include the task of relating principles of posttranscriptional control to cellular compartmentalization and polysome structure and the role of molecular channelling in these highly complex expression systems.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1492-1553
    Number of pages61
    JournalMicrobiology and Molecular Biology Reviews
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 1998


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