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Mol Cell Biol. 1993 Aug;13(8):5034-42.

The destabilizing elements in the coding region of c-fos mRNA are recognized as RNA.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


The protein-coding region of the c-fos proto-oncogene transcript contains elements that direct the rapid deadenylation and decay of this mRNA in mammalian cells. The function of these coding region instability determinants requires movement of ribosomes across mRNAs containing them. Three types of mechanisms could account for this translational requirement. Two of these possibilities, (i) that rapid mRNA decay might be mediated by the nascent polypeptide chain and (ii) that it might result from an unusual codon usage, have experimental precedent. Here, we present evidence that the destabilizing elements in the c-fos coding region are not recognized in either of these two ways. Instead, the ability of the c-fos coding region to function as a potent mRNA destabilizer when translated in the +1 reading frame indicates that the signals for rapid deadenylation and decay reside in the sequence or structure of the RNA comprising this c-fos domain.

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