Ribosome profiling reveals changes in translational status of soybean transcripts during immature cotyledon development

M. Shamimuzzaman, Lila Vodkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To understand translational capacity on a genome-wide scale across three developmental stages of immature soybean seed cotyledons, ribosome profiling was performed in combination with RNA sequencing and cluster analysis. Transcripts representing 216 unique genes demonstrated a higher level of translational activity in at least one stage by exhibiting higher translational efficiencies (TEs) in which there were relatively more ribosome footprint sequence reads mapping to the transcript than were present in the control total RNA sample. The majority of these transcripts were more translationally active at the early stage of seed development and included 12 unique serine or cysteine proteases and 16 2S albumin and low molecular weight cysteine-rich proteins that may serve as substrates for turnover and mobilization early in seed development. It would appear that the serine proteases and 2S albumins play a vital role in the early stages. In contrast, our investigation of profiles of 19 genes encoding high abundance seed storage proteins, such as glycinins, beta-conglycinins, lectin, and Kunitz trypsin inhibitors, showed that they all had similar patterns in which the TE values started at low levels and increased approximately 2 to 6-fold during development. The highest levels of these seed protein transcripts were found at the mid-developmental stage, whereas the highest ribosome footprint levels of only up to 1.6 TE were found at the late developmental stage. These experimental findings suggest that the major seed storage protein coding genes are primarily regulated at the transcriptional level during normal soybean cotyledon development. Finally, our analyses also identified a total of 370 unique gene models that showed very low TE values including over 48 genes encoding ribosomal family proteins and 95 gene models that are related to energy and photosynthetic functions, many of which have homology to the chloroplast genome. Additionally, we showed that genes of the chloroplast were relatively translationally inactive during seed development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0194596
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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