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RNA. 2004 Nov;10(11):1721-9. Epub 2004 Sep 23.

Evidence against a direct role for the Upf proteins in frameshifting or nonsense codon readthrough.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, 2135 Microbiology Building, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA.


The Upf proteins are essential for nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). They have also been implicated in the modulation of translational fidelity at viral frameshift signals and premature termination codons. How these factors function in both mRNA turnover and translational control remains unclear. In this study, mono- and bicistronic reporter systems were used in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisae to differentiate between effects at the levels of mRNA turnover and those at the level of translation. We confirm that upfDelta mutants do not affect programmed frameshifting, and show that this is also true for mutant forms of eIF1/Sui1p. Further, bicistronic reporters did not detect defects in translational readthrough due to deletion of the UPF genes, suggesting that their function in termination is not as general a phenomenon as was previously believed. The demonstration that upf sui1 double mutants are synthetically lethal demonstrates an important functional interaction between the NMD and translation initiation pathway.

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