Genome-Scale Analysis of Perturbations in Translation Elongation Based on a Computational Model

Doron Levin, Tamir Tuller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Perturbations play an important role both in engineered systems and cellular processes. Thus, understanding their effect on protein synthesis should contribute to all biomedical disciplines. Here we describe the first genome-scale analysis of perturbations in translation-related factors in S. cerevisiae. To this end, we used simulations based on a computational model that takes into consideration the fundamental stochastic and bio-physical nature of translation. We found that the initiation rate has a key role in determining the sensitivity to perturbations. For low initiation rates, the first codons of the coding region dominate the sensitivity, which is highly correlated with the ratio between initiation rate and mean elongation rate (r = −0.95), with the open reading frame (ORF) length (r = 0.6) and with protein abundance (r = 0.45). For high initiation rates (that may rise, for example, due to cellular growth), the sensitivity of a gene is dominated by all internal codons and is correlated with the decoding rate. We found that various central intracellular functions are associated with the sensitivity: for example, both genes that are sensitive and genes that are robust to perturbations are over-represented in the group of genes related to translation regulation; this may suggest that robustness to perturbations is a trait that undergoes evolutionary selection in relation to the function of the encoded protein. We believe that the reported results, due to their quantitative value and genome-wide perspective, should contribute to disciplines such as synthetic biology, functional genomics, comparative genomics and molecular evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16191
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018


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