Alternative mRNA transcription, processing, and translation: insights from RNA sequencing.

Publication Type:


Trends Genet, Volume 31, Issue 3, p.128-39 (2015)


Alternative Splicing, Gene Expression Profiling, High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing, Humans, Polyadenylation, Promoter Regions, Genetic, Protein Biosynthesis, RNA, Messenger, Sequence Analysis, RNA, Transcription, Genetic, Transcriptome


<p>The human transcriptome comprises &gt;80,000 protein-coding transcripts and the estimated number of proteins synthesized from these transcripts is in the range of 250,000 to 1 million. These transcripts and proteins are encoded by less than 20,000 genes, suggesting extensive regulation at the transcriptional, post-transcriptional, and translational level. Here we review how RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) technologies have increased our understanding of the mechanisms that give rise to alternative transcripts and their alternative translation. We highlight four different regulatory processes: alternative transcription initiation, alternative splicing, alternative polyadenylation, and alternative translation initiation. We discuss their transcriptome-wide distribution, their impact on protein expression, their biological relevance, and the possible molecular mechanisms leading to their alternative regulation. We conclude with a discussion of the coordination and the interdependence of these four regulatory layers.</p>