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    The nonsense-mediated mRNA decay pathway selects and degrades its targets using a dense network of RNA-protein and protein-protein interactions. Together, these interactions allow the pathway to collect copious information about the translating mRNA, including translation termination status, splice junction positions, mRNP composition, and 3'UTR length and structure. The core NMD machinery, centered on the RNA helicase UPF1, integrates this information to determine the efficiency of decay. A picture of NMD is emerging in which many factors contribute to the dynamics of decay complex assembly and disassembly, thereby influencing the probability of decay. The ability of the NMD pathway to recognize mRNP features of diverse potential substrates allows it to simultaneously perform quality control and regulatory functions. In vertebrates, increased transcriptome complexity requires balance between these two functions since high NMD efficiency is desirable for maintenance of quality control fidelity but may impair expression of normal mRNAs. NMD has adapted to this challenge by employing mechanisms to enhance identification of certain potential substrates, while using sequence-specific RNA-binding proteins to shield others from detection. These elaborations on the conserved NMD mechanism permit more sensitive post-transcriptional gene regulation but can have severe deleterious consequences, including the failure to degrade pathogenic aberrant mRNAs in many B cell lymphomas. This article is categorized under: RNA Evolution and Genomics > RNA and Ribonucleoprotein Evolution RNA Interactions with Proteins and Other Molecules > Protein-RNA Interactions: Functional Implications RNA Turnover and Surveillance > Turnover/Surveillance Mechanisms. Published 2019. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

    Citation

    Aparna Kishor, Sarah E Fritz, J Robert Hogg. Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay: The challenge of telling right from wrong in a complex transcriptome. Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. RNA. 2019 Nov;10(6):e1548

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    PMID: 31131562

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