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FEBS Lett. 2007 Jun 19;581(15):2845-53. Epub 2007 May 21.

mRNA quality control: an ancient machinery recognizes and degrades mRNAs with nonsense codons.

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MPI for Developmental Biology, Spemannstrasse 35, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany.


Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is an mRNA surveillance pathway which ensures the rapid degradation of mRNAs containing premature translation termination codons (PTCs or nonsense codons), thereby preventing the accumulation of truncated and potentially harmful proteins. In this way, the NMD pathway contributes to suppressing or exacerbating the clinical manifestations of specific human genetic disorders. Studies in model organisms have led to the identification of the effectors of the NMD pathway, and illuminated the mechanisms by which premature stops are discriminated from natural stops, so that only the former trigger rapid mRNA degradation. These studies are providing important insights that will aid the development of new treatments for at least some human genetic diseases.

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