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Cell. 2009 May 1;137(3):536-48. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2009.02.042.

Disassembly of exon junction complexes by PYM.

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University of Heidelberg and European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Germany.


Exon junction complexes (EJCs) are deposited onto mRNAs during splicing, serve as positional landmarks for the intron exon structure of genes, and direct posttranscriptional processes in the cytoplasm. EJC removal and recycling by translation are ill understood and have been attributed to ribosomal passage. This work identifies the ribosome-associated protein PYM as an EJC disassembly factor and defines its mechanism of function. Whereas EJC assembly intermediates are resistant to PYM, fully assembled EJCs are dissociated from spliced mRNAs by PYM. This disassembly involves PYM binding to the EJC proteins MAGOH-Y14. PYM overexpression in cells disrupts EJC association with spliced mRNA and inhibits nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. In cells depleted of PYM, EJCs accumulate on spliced mRNAs and EJC protein recycling is impaired. Hence, PYM is an EJC disassembly factor that acts both in vitro and in living cells, and that antagonizes important EJC functions.

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