[Shu-Hsing Wu] Noise canceling in gene expression by uORFs

Gene expression can be noisier than we realize. Burst transcription can be unproductive or even detrimental if not adequately controlled. Our study reveals that upstream open reading frames (uORFs) can cancel the expression noise by reducing the protein production rate. The collaborative study by Shu-Hsing Wu and Chao-Ping Hsu labs discloses a proactive role of uORFs that are widely present in 5’ leader sequences of 30% to 50% of eukaryotic mRNAs. This noise-canceling activity of uORFs is important in sustaining a robust operation of the circadian clock in Arabidopsis. The uORFs in the 5’ leader of the TIMING OF CAB EXPRESSION 1 (TOC1) mRNAs help to buffer a stable TOC1 protein production level, keeping the clock precise and synchronized among cells.

Wu HW, Fajiculay E, Wu JF, Yan CCS, Hsu CP* and Wu SH* (2022) Noise reduction by upstream open reading frames. Nature Plants doi: 10.1038/s41477-022-01136-8