Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 67, Issue 5, pp 677–700

Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay in human cells: mechanistic insights, functions beyond quality control and the double-life of NMD factors

  • Pamela Nicholson
  • Hasmik Yepiskoposyan
  • Stefanie Metze
  • Rodolfo Zamudio Orozco
  • Nicole Kleinschmidt
  • Oliver Mühlemann
Review

DOI: 10.1007/s00018-009-0177-1

Cite this article as:
Nicholson, P., Yepiskoposyan, H., Metze, S. et al. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2010) 67: 677. doi:10.1007/s00018-009-0177-1

Abstract

Nonsense-mediated decay is well known by the lucid definition of being a RNA surveillance mechanism that ensures the speedy degradation of mRNAs containing premature translation termination codons. However, as we review here, NMD is far from being a simple quality control mechanism; it also regulates the stability of many wild-type transcripts. We summarise the abundance of research that has characterised each of the NMD factors and present a unified model for the recognition of NMD substrates. The contentious issue of how and where NMD occurs is also discussed, particularly with regard to P-bodies and SMG6-driven endonucleolytic degradation. In recent years, the discovery of additional functions played by several of the NMD factors has further complicated the picture. Therefore, we also review the reported roles of UPF1, SMG1 and SMG6 in other cellular processes.

Keywords

NMD Nonsense mRNA surveillance Post-transcriptional gene regulation PTC mRNA turnover 

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel/Switzerland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pamela Nicholson
    • 1
  • Hasmik Yepiskoposyan
    • 1
  • Stefanie Metze
    • 1
  • Rodolfo Zamudio Orozco
    • 1
  • Nicole Kleinschmidt
    • 1
  • Oliver Mühlemann
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Cell BiologyUniversity of Bern3012BernSwitzerland

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