Poor transcript-protein correlation in the brain: negatively correlating gene products reveal neuronal polarity as a potential cause

Abstract : Transcription, translation, and turnover of transcripts and proteins are essential for cellular function. The contribution of those factors to protein levels is under debate, as transcript levels and cognate protein levels do not necessarily correlate due to regulation of translation and protein turnover. Here we propose neuronal polarity as a third factor that is particularly evident in the CNS, leading to considerable distances between somata and axon terminals. Consequently, transcript levels may negatively correlate with cognate protein levels in CNS regions, i.e., transcript and protein levels behave reciprocally. To test this hypothesis, we performed an integrative inter‐omics study and analyzed three interconnected rat auditory brainstem regions (cochlear nuclear complex, CN; superior olivary complex, SOC; inferior colliculus, IC) and the rest of the brain as a reference. We obtained transcript and protein sets in these regions of interest (ROIs) by DNA microarrays and label‐free mass spectrometry, and performed principal component and correlation analyses. We found 508 transcript|protein pairs and detected poor to moderate transcript|protein correlation in all ROIs, as evidenced by coefficients of determination from 0.34 to 0.54. We identified 57‐80 negatively correlating gene products in the ROIs and intensively analyzed four of them for which the correlation was poorest. Three cognate proteins (Slc6a11, Syngr1, Tppp) were synaptic and hence candidates for a negative correlation because of protein transport into axon terminals. Thus, we systematically analyzed the negatively correlating gene products. Gene ontology analyses revealed overrepresented transport/synapse‐related proteins, supporting our hypothesis. We present 30 synapse/transport‐related proteins with poor transcript|protein correlation. In conclusion, our analyses support that protein transport in polar cells is a third factor that influences the protein level and, thereby, the transcript|protein correlation.
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Christian Moritz, Timo Mühlhaus, Stefan Tenzer, Thomas Schulenborg, Eckhard Friauf. Poor transcript-protein correlation in the brain: negatively correlating gene products reveal neuronal polarity as a potential cause. Journal of Neurochemistry, Wiley, In press, ⟨10.1111/jnc.14664⟩. ⟨hal-02098886⟩

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