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EMBO J. Jun 1, 1999; 18(11): 3139–3152.
PMCID: PMC1171395

Post-termination ribosome interactions with the 5'UTR modulate yeast mRNA stability.

Abstract

A novel form of post-transcriptional control is described. The 5' untranslated region (5'UTR) of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae gene encoding the AP1-like transcription factor Yap2 contains two upstream open reading frames (uORF1 and uORF2). The YAP2-type of uORF functions as a cis-acting element that attenuates gene expression at the level of mRNA turnover via termination-dependent decay. Release of post-termination ribosomes from the YAP2 5'UTR causes accelerated decay which is largely independent of the termination modulator gene UPF1. Both of the YAP2 uORFs contribute to the destabilization effect. A G/C-rich stop codon context, which seems to promote ribosome release, allows an uORF to act as a transferable 5'UTR-destabilizing element. Moreover, termination-dependent destabilization is potentiated by stable secondary structure 3' of the uORF stop codon. The potentiation of uORF-mediated destabilization is eliminated if the secondary structure is located further downstream of the uORF, and is also influenced by a modulatory mechanism involving eIF2. Destabilization is therefore linked to the kinetics of acquisition of reinitiation-competence by post-termination ribosomes in the 5'UTR. Our data explain the destabilizing properties of YAP2-type uORFs and also support a more general model for the mode of action of other known uORFs, such as those in the GCN4 mRNA.

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Selected References

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