Molecular Biology

Precision RNA Measurements

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Science  13 May 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6031, pp. 769
DOI: 10.1126/science.332.6031.769-b

Total RNA content within a cell depends on the rates of production of RNA transcripts, their processing, and the degradation of mature transcripts. Rabani et al. sought to determine how each of these processes contributes to the total RNA levels within a cell by using metabolic RNA labeling, RNA quantification, and computer modeling. Changes in RNA levels depended most on the rate of transcription; however, this was variable across genes. Degradation rates were also variable across genes, and alterations in degradation rates were important for achieving sharp peaks in RNA amounts. Furthermore, RNA processing rates also varied across genes. These studies comprehensively show that RNA amounts within the cells are determined by complex interactions between all three processes, whose rates may be linked to the biological functions of these transcripts.

Nat. Biotechnol. 29, 10.1038/nbt.1861 (2011).

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