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Mol Cell. 2001 Jul;8(1):33-43.

Precursor RNAs harboring nonsense codons accumulate near the site of transcription.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, W.M. Keck Center for Cellular Visualization, Department of Biochemistry, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02454, USA.


Messenger RNAs containing premature termination codons (PTCs) are selectively eliminated by nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). Paradoxically, although cytoplasmic ribosomes are the only known species capable of PTC recognition, in mammals many PTC-containing mRNAs are apparently eliminated prior to release from the nucleus. To determine whether PTCs can influence events within the nucleus proper, we studied the immunoglobulin (Ig)-mu and T cell receptor (TCR)-beta genes using fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). Alleles containing PTCs, but not those containing a missense mutation or a frameshift followed by frame-correcting mutations, exhibited elevated levels of pre-mRNA, which accumulated at or near the site of transcription. Our data indicate that mRNA reading frame can influence events at or near the site of gene transcription.

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