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Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Feb;40(3):1160-73. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkr820. Epub 2011 Oct 11.

Interaction of PABPC1 with the translation initiation complex is critical to the NMD resistance of AUG-proximal nonsense mutations.

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Departamento de Genética, Instituto Nacional de Saúde Dr. Ricardo Jorge, 1649-016 Lisboa, Portugal.


Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is a surveillance pathway that recognizes and rapidly degrades mRNAs containing premature termination codons (PTC). The strength of the NMD response appears to reflect multiple determinants on a target mRNA. We have previously reported that mRNAs containing PTCs in close proximity to the translation initiation codon (AUG-proximal PTCs) can substantially evade NMD. Here, we explore the mechanistic basis for this NMD resistance. We demonstrate that translation termination at an AUG-proximal PTC lacks the ribosome stalling that is evident in an NMD-sensitive PTC. This difference is associated with demonstrated interactions of the cytoplasmic poly(A)-binding protein 1, PABPC1, with the cap-binding complex subunit, eIF4G and the 40S recruitment factor eIF3 as well as the ribosome release factor, eRF3. These interactions, in combination, underlie critical 3'-5' linkage of translation initiation with efficient termination at the AUG-proximal PTC and contribute to an NMD-resistant PTC definition at an early phase of translation elongation.

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