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Hum Mutat. 2011 Apr;32(4):E2061-8. doi: 10.1002/humu.21447. Epub 2011 Jan 18.

A novel nonstop mutation in TYMP does not induce nonstop mRNA decay in a MNGIE patient with severe neuropathy.

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Laboratori of Neuromuscular and Mitochondrial Disorders, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.


The cellular quality control systems enable surveillance and selective degradation of nonsense, nonstop, and no-go mRNAs. In the case of nonstop mRNA, different mechanisms of nonstop-mediated decay (NSD) have been described for bacteria, yeast and mammals, but the molecular consequences of nonstop mutations have been examined in only few cases of human disease. We describe a novel homozygous nonstop mRNA mutation (c.1416delC) in the TYMP gene encoding thymidine phosphorylase, in a patient with mitochondrial neurogastrointestinal encephalomyopathy (MNGIE). In contrast to previous reports showing selective decay of pathogenic nonstop mRNAs, quantitative real-time PCR and 3'-RACE-RFLP analysis revealed unreduced nonstop mRNA levels in our patient and 2 heterozygous carriers of the mutation. The absence of thymidine phosphorylase protein in the homozygous patient, together with the partial decrease in levels of this protein in 2 carriers suggest that the main control system in this case resides at the translational or post-translational levels rather than through NSD. This is the first report showing an absence of NSD in a human disease, revealing that this surveillance mechanism has exceptions in vivo.

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