Link to DOI – https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.01.16.524186
Gene expression and its regulation depend on mRNA degradation. In eukaryotes, degradation is controlled by deadenylation rates, since a short poly(A) tail is considered to be the signal that activates decapping and triggers mRNA degradation. In contrast to this view, we show that global stability of mRNAs can be explained by variations in decapping speed alone. Rapid decapping of unstable mRNAs, for example, allows little time for deadenylation, which explains their longer than average poly(A) tails. As predicted by modeling of RNA degradation kinetics, mRNA stabilization in the absence of decapping led to a decrease in the length of the poly(A) tail, while depletion of deadenylases only increased the tail length. Our results suggest that decapping activation dictates mRNA stability independent of the deadenylation speed.