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Differential translation elongation directs protein synthesis in response to acute glucose deprivation in yeast.


Protein synthesis is energetically expensive and its rate is influenced by factors such as cell type and environment. Suppression of translation is a canonical response to stressful changes in the cellular environment. In particular, inhibition of the initiation step of translation has been highlighted as the key control step in stress-induced translational suppression as mechanisms that quickly suppress initiation are well-conserved. However, cells have evolved complex regulatory means to control translation apart from initiation. Here, we examine the role of the elongation step of translation in yeast subjected to acute glucose deprivation. The use of ribosome profiling and in vivo reporter assays demonstrated elongation rates slow progressively following glucose removal. We observed that ribosome distribution broadly shifts towards the downstream ends of transcripts after both acute and gradual glucose deprivation but not in response to other stressors. Additionally, on assessed mRNAs, a correlation existed between ribosome occupancy and protein production pre-stress but was lost after stress. These results indicate that stress-induced elongation regulation causes ribosomes to slow down and build up on a considerable proportion of the transcriptome in response to glucose withdrawal. Finally, we report ribosomes that built up along transcripts are competent to resume elongation and complete protein synthesis after readdition of glucose to starved cells. This suggests that yeast has evolved mechanisms to slow translation elongation in response to glucose starvation which do not preclude continuation of protein production from those ribosomes, thereby averting a need for new initiation events to take place to synthesize proteins.Abbreviations: AUG: start codon, bp: base pair(s), CDS: coding sequence, CHX: cycloheximide, eEF2: eukaryotic elongation factor 2, LTM: lactimidomycin, nt: nucleotide, PGK1: 3-phosphoglycerate kinase, ribosomal biogenesis: ribi, RO: ribosome occupancy, RPF: ribosome protected fragment, TE: translational efficiency.

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