This review aims to locate these resources in their proper space, classifying them according to their goals, limitations and integration capabilities and, in the end, to provide the user with an initial toolbox for the bioinformatic analysis of post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. The accompanying website, available at www.ptrguide.org, lists all resources, provides summary and features for each one and will be regularly updated in the future.
Auxiliary elements have previously been identified and studied in a small number of mRNAs. We previously used a global approach to examine auxiliary elements to identify overrepresented motifs by a bioinformatic survey. This predicted information was used to direct our in vivo validation studies, all of which were accomplished using both a tandem in vivo polyadenylation assay and using reporter protein assays measured as luciferase activity. Novel auxiliary elements were placed in a test polyadenylation signal. An in vivo polyadenylation assay was used to determine the strength of the polyadenylation signal. All but one of the novel auxiliary elements enhanced the test polyadenylation signal. Effects of these novel auxiliary elements were also measured by a luciferase assay when placed in the 3′ UTR of a firefly luciferase reporter. Two novel downstream auxiliary elements and all of the novel upstream auxiliary elements showed an increase in reporter protein levels.
Many well known auxiliary polyadenylation elements have been found to occur in multiple sets. However, in our study, multiple copies of novel auxiliary elements brought reporter protein levels as well as polyadenylation choice back to wild type levels. Structural features of these novel auxiliary elements may also affect the role of auxiliary elements. A MS2 structure placed upstream of the polyadenylation signal can affect polyadenylation in both the positive and negative direction. A large change in RNA structure by using novel complementary auxiliary element also decreased polyadenylation choice and reporter protein levels. Therefore, we conclude that RNA structure has an important role in polyadenylation efficiency.