Current Genetics

, Volume 62, Issue 4, pp 701–710 | Cite as

The importance of controlling mRNA turnover during cell proliferation

  • Sebastián ChávezEmail author
  • José García-Martínez
  • Lidia Delgado-Ramos
  • José E. Pérez-OrtínEmail author


Microbial gene expression depends not only on specific regulatory mechanisms, but also on cellular growth because important global parameters, such as abundance of mRNAs and ribosomes, could be growth rate dependent. Understanding these global effects is necessary to quantitatively judge gene regulation. In the last few years, transcriptomic works in budding yeast have shown that a large fraction of its genes is coordinately regulated with growth rate. As mRNA levels depend simultaneously on synthesis and degradation rates, those studies were unable to discriminate the respective roles of both arms of the equilibrium process. We recently analyzed 80 different genomic experiments and found a positive and parallel correlation between both RNA polymerase II transcription and mRNA degradation with growth rates. Thus, the total mRNA concentration remains roughly constant. Some gene groups, however, regulate their mRNA concentration by uncoupling mRNA stability from the transcription rate. Ribosome-related genes modulate their transcription rates to increase mRNA levels under fast growth. In contrast, mitochondria-related and stress-induced genes lower mRNA levels by reducing mRNA stability or the transcription rate, respectively. We critically review here these results and analyze them in relation to their possible extrapolation to other organisms and in relation to the new questions they open.


Growth rate Gene expression mRNA turnover Yeast Transcription mRNA half-life 



We wish to thank all the members of the Valencia and Seville laboratories for their help.


This work has been supported by the Spanish MiNECO and European Union funds (FEDER) to J.E.P-O. [BFU2013-48643-C3-3-P], and to S.C. [BFU2013-48643-C3-1-P], by the Regional Valencian Government [GVPROMETEO II 2015/006] to J.E.P-O, and by the Regional Andalusian Government [P12-BIO1938MO] to S.C. L.D-R. is a recipient of an FPI fellowship from MiNECO.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Biomedicina de Sevilla (IBiS), Hospital Virgen del Rocío-CSIC-Universidad de SevillaSevilleSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de GenéticaUniversidad de SevillaSevilleSpain
  3. 3.Departamento de GenéticaUniversitat de ValènciaBurjassotSpain
  4. 4.Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología MolecularUniversitat de ValènciaBurjassotSpain
  5. 5.ERI BiotecmedUniversitat de ValènciaBurjassotSpain

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