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Methods. 1999 Jan;17(1):28-37.

Linking mRNA turnover and translation: assessing the polyribosomal association of mRNA decay factors and degradative intermediates.

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Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts 01655-0122, USA.


mRNA decay is a multistep process, often dependent on the active translation of an mRNA and on components of the translation apparatus. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, several trans-acting factors required for mRNA decay associate with polyribosomes. We have explored the specificity of the interactions of these factors with polyribosomes, using sucrose gradient sedimentation analysis of the yeast UPF1 protein to test whether such interactions are altered when polyribosomes are disrupted by treatment with EDTA, digestion with micrococcal nuclease, or shifting of cells containing a temperature-sensitive eIF3 mutation to the nonpermissive temperature. These experiments, as well as others assaying the strength of factor association in high-salt sucrose gradients, lead us to conclude that Upf1p is tightly bound to the smallest polyribosomes, but not to the 40S or 60S ribosomal subunits. Similar experimental approaches were used to determine whether mRNA decay initiates prior to mRNA release from polyribosomes. Using sucrose gradient fractionation and Northern blotting, we can detect the polysomal association of a PGK1 mRNA decay intermediate and conclude that mRNA decay commences while an mRNA is still being translated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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