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Cell Cycle. 2006 Jul;5(14):1496-8. Epub 2006 Jul 17.

The double life of UPF1 in RNA and DNA stability pathways.

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  • 1Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.


The DNA and RNA helicase UPF1 is well known for its central role in Nonsense Mediated RNA Decay (NMD), which promotes degradation of mRNAs containing premature stop codons. However, we have recently demonstrated that human UPF1 is also essential for DNA replication and S phase progression. This function appears to be independent of NMD, which is not required for cell cycle progression. UPF1 physically interacts with the replicative DNA polymerase delta and it associates with chromatin during S phase and upon DNA damage in an ATR-dependent manner. Intriguingly, the human NMD-kinase SMG1 is also involved in genome stability pathways and the human NMD-factor EST1A/SMG6 is telomerase-associated and has been implicated in telomere maintenance. Here we review the recent findings, which uncovered the direct roles of UPF1 and other NMD-factors in DNA replication and genome maintenance pathways and suggest functional connections between RNA and DNA metabolism.

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