Comprehensive quantitative modeling of translation efficiency in a genome-reduced bacterium


Translation efficiency has been mainly studied by ribosome profiling, which only provides an incomplete picture of translation kinetics. Here, we integrated the absolute quantifications of tRNAs, mRNAs, RNA half-lives, proteins, and protein half-lives with ribosome densities and derived the initiation and elongation rates for 475 genes (67% of all genes), 73 with high precision, in the bacterium Mycoplasma pneumoniae (Mpn). We found that, although the initiation rate varied over 160-fold among genes, most of the known factors had little impact on translation efficiency. Local codon elongation rates could not be fully explained by the adaptation to tRNA abundances, which varied over 100-fold among tRNA isoacceptors. We provide a comprehensive quantitative view of translation efficiency, which suggests the existence of unidentified mechanisms of translational regulation in Mpn.