Integrative biology : quantitative biosciences from nano to macro

Fluctuations and synchrony of RNA synthesis in nucleoli.

PMID 25985251


Ribosomal RNA (rRNA) sequences are synthesized at exceptionally high rates and, together with ribosomal proteins (r-proteins), are utilized as building blocks for the assembly of pre-ribosomal particles. Although it is widely acknowledged that tight regulation and coordination of rRNA and r-protein production are fundamentally important for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis, still little is known about the real-time kinetics of the ribosome component synthesis in individual cells. In this communication we introduce a label-free MicroRaman spectrometric approach for monitoring rRNA synthesis in live cultured cells. Remarkably high and rapid fluctuations of rRNA production rates were revealed by this technique. Strikingly, the changes in the rRNA output were synchronous for ribosomal genes located in separate nucleoli of the same cell. Our findings call for the development of new concepts to elucidate the coordination of ribosomal components production. In this regard, numerical modeling further demonstrated that the production of rRNA and r-proteins can be coordinated, regardless of the fluctuations in rRNA synthesis. Overall, our quantitative data reveal a spectacular interplay of inherently stochastic rates of RNA synthesis and the coordination of gene expression.