Research Topic

mRNA Translational Control as a Mechanism of Post-transcriptional Gene Regulation

About this Research Topic

The precise control of gene expression is vital to life. As mRNAs are generally short-lived, they are a natural focal point for regulatory pathways to rapidly change both the identity and quantity of proteins expressed by cells. Decades of research have uncovered a complex web of regulatory mechanisms that control every aspect of mRNA metabolism. Every point in an mRNA’s ‘life cycle’ from its transcription, modification, splicing, processing, packaging, trafficking, translation, and turnover is surveyed by one or more such regulatory mechanism. The collective action of these post-transcriptional regulatory mechanisms simultaneously maintains normal cellular activity while providing cells the capacity to rapidly and nimbly adapt to changing conditions. This paradigm holds true whether the gene expression changes are driven by developmental programs or in response to external stress.

As every step of an mRNA’s life cycle is regulated, every point of mRNA translation, from cap recognition and ribosome recruitment to termination and ribosome recycling (and everything in between) also serves as an input for regulatory mechanisms. In addition to the broad relevance these regulatory mechanisms have for human physiology, the study of such mechanisms in microbes has consequential implications for understanding and targeting their pathogenicity. The long-standing history of using model organisms in this field of research and the advent of specialized sequencing techniques have led to many critical discoveries in mRNA translation control. The goal of this special topic is to gather and report such discoveries that significantly advance our understanding of the many different mechanisms that control the translation of mRNA into protein. The breadth of expertise in the editorial team reflects the broad scope of articles this edition hopes to attract; including studies utilizing biochemistry, molecular biology, and genetic approaches to uncover mRNA-based translational control in a variety of contexts such as developmental biology, microbiology, therapeutics, etc. The scope of the Research Topic (as described above) will also draw broad readership since it aims to transect multiple disciplines by focusing on mRNA translational regulation.

This Research Topic aims to collect Original Research Articles, Brief Research Reports, plus Hypothesis and Theory, Perspective, Reviews, Mini Reviews, and Methods articles which discuss the biology of translational control, including (but not limited to) the following topics:

• Identification and/or characterization of novel translational control pathways and their effect(s) on mRNA translation
• Translational control enacted during stress responses
• Characterization of colliding ribosomes and their effects
• Identification and/or analysis of regulatory mRNA sequence elements and their interactions with RNA binding proteins, ribosomes, microRNAs and other factors
• The role of untranslated regions in translational control
• Identification and/or functional characterization of upstream open reading frames, non-standard open reading frames, and/or internal ribosome entry sites
• The misregulation of translational control in disease
• The effects of RNA modifications on translation
• Computational tools for the functional analysis of high throughput sequencing data including data from RNA-seq, ribosome profiling, and long-read sequencing approaches.
• Other topics related to mRNA turnover and translational control


Keywords: mRNA translational control, stress response, ribosome-associated quality control, cap-dependent translation, upstream open reading frames, internal ribosome entry sites, codon optimality, noncanonical translation factors, recoding


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The precise control of gene expression is vital to life. As mRNAs are generally short-lived, they are a natural focal point for regulatory pathways to rapidly change both the identity and quantity of proteins expressed by cells. Decades of research have uncovered a complex web of regulatory mechanisms that control every aspect of mRNA metabolism. Every point in an mRNA’s ‘life cycle’ from its transcription, modification, splicing, processing, packaging, trafficking, translation, and turnover is surveyed by one or more such regulatory mechanism. The collective action of these post-transcriptional regulatory mechanisms simultaneously maintains normal cellular activity while providing cells the capacity to rapidly and nimbly adapt to changing conditions. This paradigm holds true whether the gene expression changes are driven by developmental programs or in response to external stress.

As every step of an mRNA’s life cycle is regulated, every point of mRNA translation, from cap recognition and ribosome recruitment to termination and ribosome recycling (and everything in between) also serves as an input for regulatory mechanisms. In addition to the broad relevance these regulatory mechanisms have for human physiology, the study of such mechanisms in microbes has consequential implications for understanding and targeting their pathogenicity. The long-standing history of using model organisms in this field of research and the advent of specialized sequencing techniques have led to many critical discoveries in mRNA translation control. The goal of this special topic is to gather and report such discoveries that significantly advance our understanding of the many different mechanisms that control the translation of mRNA into protein. The breadth of expertise in the editorial team reflects the broad scope of articles this edition hopes to attract; including studies utilizing biochemistry, molecular biology, and genetic approaches to uncover mRNA-based translational control in a variety of contexts such as developmental biology, microbiology, therapeutics, etc. The scope of the Research Topic (as described above) will also draw broad readership since it aims to transect multiple disciplines by focusing on mRNA translational regulation.

This Research Topic aims to collect Original Research Articles, Brief Research Reports, plus Hypothesis and Theory, Perspective, Reviews, Mini Reviews, and Methods articles which discuss the biology of translational control, including (but not limited to) the following topics:

• Identification and/or characterization of novel translational control pathways and their effect(s) on mRNA translation
• Translational control enacted during stress responses
• Characterization of colliding ribosomes and their effects
• Identification and/or analysis of regulatory mRNA sequence elements and their interactions with RNA binding proteins, ribosomes, microRNAs and other factors
• The role of untranslated regions in translational control
• Identification and/or functional characterization of upstream open reading frames, non-standard open reading frames, and/or internal ribosome entry sites
• The misregulation of translational control in disease
• The effects of RNA modifications on translation
• Computational tools for the functional analysis of high throughput sequencing data including data from RNA-seq, ribosome profiling, and long-read sequencing approaches.
• Other topics related to mRNA turnover and translational control


Keywords: mRNA translational control, stress response, ribosome-associated quality control, cap-dependent translation, upstream open reading frames, internal ribosome entry sites, codon optimality, noncanonical translation factors, recoding


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

16 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

16 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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