The transcriptome in a cell is finely regulated by a large number of molecular mechanisms able to control the balance between mRNA production and degradation. Recent experimental findings have evidenced that fine and specific regulation of degradation is needed for proper orchestration of a global cell response to environmental conditions. We developed a computational technique based on stochastic modeling, to infer condition-specific individual mRNA half-lives directly from gene expression time-courses. Predictions from our method were validated by experimentally measured mRNA decay rates during the intraerythrocytic developmental cycle of Plasmodium falciparum. We then applied our methodology to publicly available data on the reproductive and metabolic cycle of budding yeast. Strikingly, our analysis revealed, in all cases, the presence of periodic changes in decay rates of sequentially induced genes and co-ordination strategies between transcription and degradation, thus suggesting a general principle for the proper coordination of transcription and degradation machinery in response to internal and/or external stimuli.
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