On the Relationship of Protein and mRNA Dynamics in Vertebrate Embryonic Development

Leonid Peshkin, Martin Wühr, Esther Pearl, Wilhelm Haas, Robert M. Freeman, John C. Gerhart, Allon M. Klein, Marko Horb, Steven P. Gygi, Marc W. Kirschner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Scopus citations


A biochemical explanation of development from the fertilized egg to the adult requires an understanding of the proteins and RNAs expressed over time during embryogenesis. We present a comprehensive characterization of protein and mRNA dynamics across early development in Xenopus. Surprisingly, we find that most protein levels change little and duplicated genes are expressed similarly. While the correlation between protein and mRNA levels is poor, a mass action kinetics model parameterized using protein synthesis and degradation rates regresses protein dynamics to RNA dynamics, corrected for initial protein concentration. This study provides detailed data for absolute levels of ~10,000 proteins and ~28,000 transcripts via a convenient web portal, a rich resource for developmental biologists. It underscores the lasting impact of maternal dowry, finds surprisingly few cases where degradation alone drives a change in protein level, and highlights the importance of transcription in shaping the dynamics of the embryonic proteome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-394
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental cell
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 9 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'On the Relationship of Protein and mRNA Dynamics in Vertebrate Embryonic Development'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this