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Biochimie. 1996;78(11-12):1049-55.

mRNA decapping activities and their biological roles.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson 85721-0106, USA.


The 5' cap structure of eukaryotic mRNAs is significant for a variety of cellular events and also serves to protect mRNAs from premature degradation. Analysis of mRNA decay in Saccharomyces cerevisiae has shown that removal of the 5' cap structure is a key step in the turnover of many yeast mRNAs, and that this decapping is carried out by Dcp1p. In addition to the yeast decapping enzyme, other activities that can cleave the 5' cap structure have been described. These include two mammalian enzymes and two viral activities that cleave cellular mRNA cap structures as part of their life cycle. Here we review these various decapping activities and discuss their biological roles.

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