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The evolution of posttranscriptional regulation

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"DNA makes RNA makes protein." After transcription, mRNAs undergo a series of intertwining processes to be finally translated into functional proteins. The “posttranscriptional” regulation (PTR) provides cells an extended option to fine‐tune their proteomes. To meet the demands of complex organism development and the appropriate response to environmental stimuli, every step in these processes needs to be finely regulated. Moreover, changes in these regulatory processes are important driving forces underlying the evolution of phenotypic differences across different species. The major PTR mechanisms discussed in this review include the regulation of splicing, polyadenylation, decay, and translation. For alternative splicing and polyadenylation, we mainly discuss their evolutionary dynamics and the genetic changes underlying the regulatory differences in cis‐elements versus trans‐factors. For mRNA decay and translation, which, together with transcription, determine the cellular RNA or protein abundance, we focus our discussion on how their divergence coordinates with transcriptional changes to shape the evolution of gene expression. Then to highlight the importance of PTR in the evolution of higher complexity, we focus on their roles in two major phenomena during eukaryotic evolution: the evolution of multicellularity and the division of labor between different cell types and tissues; and the emergence of diverse, often highly specialized individual phenotypes, especially those concerning behavior in eusocial insects. This article is categorized under: RNA Evolution and Genomics > RNA and Ribonucleoprotein Evolution Translation > Translation Regulation RNA Processing > Splicing Regulation/Alternative Splicing
Schematic representation of known core sequence elements and factors involved in the 3′‐end processing machineries of metazoans (a) and yeast (b). (a) The metazoan cleavage complex assembles through the cooperative binding of WDR33 and CPSF at the hexamer poly(A) site signal and CstF at the U‐ or GU‐rich sequence. After cleavage, PAP remains bound to the cleaved RNA and adds the poly(A) tail. (b) CFIB (Hrp1), CFIA, and CPF are sufficient for the cleavage step in yeast. Poly(A) tail synthesis requires the addition of Pap1 (Millevoi & Vagner, )
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Evolution of alternative splicing and gene expression in vertebrates. (a) Percent Spliced In (PSI; representing the proportion of the inclusion isoform) values cluster by species more often than by tissue. (b) mRNA expression profiles generally cluster by tissue rather than species. Based on fig. 1c and d in the study by Barbosa‐Morais et al. ()
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Splicing of group II introns and spliceosomal introns. Self‐splicing of group II introns and spliceosomal splicing require two transesterification reactions: First, the 2'OH of a specific adenine nucleotide within the intron (the branchpoint) attacks the first nucleotide of the intron at the 5′ splice site, forming the lariat intermediate (a, b). Second, the 3′OH of the released 5′ exon performs a nucleophilic attack at the 3′ splice site, thus joining the exons and releasing the intron lariat (b, c)
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Phylogenetic tree of the major lineages and species mentioned in the text. Phylogenetic relationships between the major lineages and species mentioned in the text are shown in this tree. Branch lengths are arbitrary and do not represent divergence times
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Schematic definition for five different types of poly(A) sites. A terminal poly(A) site locates at the annotated end of a gene's 3′‐UTR. Tandem poly(A) sites are located in other positions within the gene's last exon. Other poly(A) site types are defined according to their locations in an alternative last exon, intron, or internal exon, respectively. Black: intron, blue: coding sequence, green: UTR
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RNA Evolution and Genomics > RNA and Ribonucleoprotein Evolution
Translation > Translation Regulation
RNA Processing > Splicing Regulation/Alternative Splicing

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