Distinguished Speaker Series: Design principles for regulating mRNA translation speed and efficiency
Abstract: Translation of mRNA into protein is a fundamental biological process mediated by the flow of ribosomes on mRNA transcripts, and this transport process is highly complex and heterogeneous: different transcripts can have quite different initiation rates, the local rate of elongation (i.e., the rate at which the ribosome advances by one codon) can vary substantially along a given transcript, and multiple ribosomes can simultaneously translate the same transcript, potentially leading to interference. Then, how does the overall rate of protein synthesis depend on all these parameters? This is an important question in molecular and evolutionary biology, as well as synthetic biology, but has remained challenging to answer thus far. In this talk, I will present our recent theoretical results on a probabilistic model of mRNA translation and identify the key parameters that govern its dynamics. Applying these theoretical results, I will then describe simple design principles for regulating mRNA translation speed and efficiency.