Article

mRNA destabilization triggered by premature translational termination depends on at least three cis-acting sequence elements and one trans-acting factor.

Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester 01655.
Genes & Development (Impact Factor: 12.64). 10/1993; 7(9):1737-54. DOI: 10.1101/gad.7.9.1737
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Nonsense mutations in a gene can accelerate the decay rate of the mRNA transcribed from that gene, a phenomenon we describe as nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. Using amber (UAG) mutants of the yeast PGK1 gene as a model system, we find that nonsense-mediated mRNA decay is position dependent, that is, nonsense mutations within the initial two-thirds of the PGK1-coding region accelerate the decay rate of the PGK1 transcript < or = 12-fold, whereas nonsense mutations within the carboxy-terminal third of the coding region have no effect on mRNA decay. Moreover, we find that this position effect reflects (1) a requirement for sequences 3' to the nonsense mutation that may be necessary for translational reinitiation or pausing, and (2) the presence of an additional sequence that, when translated, inactivates the nonsense-mediated mRNA decay pathway. This stabilizing element is positioned within the coding region such that it constitutes the boundary between nonsense mutations that do or do not affect mRNA decay. Rapid decay of PGK1 nonsense-containing transcripts is also dependent on the status of the UPF1 gene. Regardless of the position of an amber codon in the PGK1 gene, deletion of the UPF1 gene restores wild-type decay rates to nonsense-containing PGK1 transcripts.

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