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Bioessays. 1999 Aug;21(8):685-96.

Should we kill the messenger? The role of the surveillance complex in translation termination and mRNA turnover.

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Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854, USA.


Eukaryotes have evolved conserved mechanisms to rid cells of faulty gene products that can interfere with cell function. mRNA surveillance is an example of a pathway that monitors the translation termination process and promotes degradation of transcripts harboring premature translation termination codons. Studies on the mechanism of mRNA surveillance in yeast and humans suggest a common mechanism where a "surveillance complex" monitors the translation process and determines whether translation termination has occurred at the correct position within the mRNA. A model will be presented that suggests that the surveillance complex assesses translation termination by monitoring the transition of an RNP as it is converted from a nuclear to a cytoplasmic form during the initial rounds of translation.

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