The extent of ribosome queuing in budding yeast

Alon Diament, Anna Feldman, Elisheva Schochet, Martin Kupiec, Yoav Arava, Tamir Tuller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ribosome queuing is a fundamental phenomenon suggested to be related to topics such as genome evolution, synthetic biology, gene expression regulation, intracellular biophysics, and more. However, this phenomenon hasn't been quantified yet at a genomic level. Nevertheless, methodologies for studying translation (e.g. ribosome footprints) are usually calibrated to capture only single ribosome protected footprints (mRPFs) and thus limited in their ability to detect ribosome queuing. On the other hand, most of the models in the field assume and analyze a certain level of queuing. Here we present an experimental-computational approach for studying ribosome queuing based on sequencing of RNA footprints extracted from pairs of ribosomes (dRPFs) using a modified ribosome profiling protocol. We combine our approach with traditional ribosome profiling to generate a detailed profile of ribosome traffic. The data are analyzed using computational models of translation dynamics. The approach was implemented on the Saccharomyces cerevisiae transcriptome. Our data shows that ribosome queuing is more frequent than previously thought: the measured ratio of ribosomes within dRPFs to mRPFs is 0.2–0.35, suggesting that at least one to five translating ribosomes is in a traffic jam; these queued ribosomes cannot be captured by traditional methods. We found that specific regions are enriched with queued ribosomes, such as the 5’-end of ORFs, and regions upstream to mRPF peaks, among others. While queuing is related to higher density of ribosomes on the transcript (characteristic of highly translated genes), we report cases where traffic jams are relatively more severe in lowly expressed genes and possibly even selected for. In addition, our analysis demonstrates that higher adaptation of the coding region to the intracellular tRNA levels and longer genes are associated with lower queuing levels. Our analysis also suggests that the Saccharomyces cerevisiae transcriptome undergoes selection for eliminating traffic jams. Thus, our proposed approach is an essential tool for high resolution analysis of ribosome traffic during mRNA translation and understanding its evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1005951
JournalPLoS Computational Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'The extent of ribosome queuing in budding yeast'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this