Decoding regulatory specificity of human ribosomal proteins


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Human ribosomes, made of around 80 ribosomal proteins (RPs) and four ribosomal RNAs, have long been thought as uniform passive protein-making factories with little regulatory function. Recently, accumulating evidence showed heterogeneity of RP composition in ribosomes responsible for regulating gene expression in development and tumorigenesis. However, a comprehensive understanding of regulatory spectrum of RPs is still lacking. In this study, we conducted a systematic survey of regulatory specificity of human RPs on global gene expression. We quantified translational and transcriptional changes of gene expression upon deficiency of 75 RPs, including 44 from the large subunit (60S) and 31 from the small subunit (40S), by ribosomal profiling and RNA sequencing analysis. We showed that RP deficiency induced diverse expression changes, particularly at the translational level. RPs were subjected to co-translational regulation under ribosomal stress where deficiency of the 60S and the 40S RPs had opposite effects on the two subunits. RP deficiency perturbed expression of genes related to cell cycle, cellular metabolism, signal transduction and development. Deficiency of RPs from the 60S led to a greater repression effect on cell growth than that from the 40S by perturbing P53 signaling and cell cycle pathways. To demonstrate functional specificity of RPs, we showed that RPS8 deficiency stimulated cellular apoptosis and RPL13 or RPL18 deficiency promoted cellular senescence. We also showed that RPL11 and RPL15 played important roles in retina development and angiogenesis, respectively. Overall, our study demonstrated a widespread regulatory role of RPs in controlling cellular activity, providing an important resource which can offer novel insights into ribosome regulation in human diseases and cancer. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
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