Translational regulation shapes the molecular landscape of complex disease phenotypes


  • S. Schafer
  • E. Adami
  • M. Heinig
  • K.E. Costa Rodrigues
  • F. Kreuchwig
  • J. Silhavy
  • S. van Heesch
  • D. Simaite
  • N. Rajewsky
  • E. Cuppen
  • M. Pravenec
  • M. Vingron
  • S.A. Cook
  • N. Hubner


  • Nature Communications


  • Nat Commun 6: 7200


  • The extent of translational control of gene expression in mammalian tissues remains largely unknown. Here we perform genome-wide RNA sequencing and ribosome profiling in heart and liver tissues to investigate strain-specific translational regulation in the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR/Ola). For the most part, transcriptional variation is equally apparent at the translational level and there is limited evidence of translational buffering. Remarkably, we observe hundreds of strain-specific differences in translation, almost doubling the number of differentially expressed genes. The integration of genetic, transcriptional and translational data sets reveals distinct signatures in 3'UTR variation, RNA-binding protein motifs and miRNA expression associated with translational regulation of gene expression. We show that a large number of genes associated with heart and liver traits in human genome-wide association studies are primarily translationally regulated. Capturing interindividual differences in the translated genome will lead to new insights into the genes and regulatory pathways underlying disease phenotypes.