GENE REGULATION

An upstream signal for repression

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Science  22 Apr 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6284, pp. 425-426
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6284.425-b

Most messenger RNAs (mRNAs) contain “untranslated” regions (UTRs) upstream (59) and downstream (39) of the protein-coding open reading frame (ORF). Many 5′ UTRs harbor very short upstream ORFs (uORFs), whose functions are largely unknown. Johnstone et al. show that approximately half of vertebrate mRNAs contain uORFs; however, uORFs generally do not encode peptides, despite being translated. Instead they function to repress mRNA expression and protein translation. Their conservation across evolution points to their importance in gene regulation.

EMBO J. 10.15252/embj.201592759 (2016).

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