Send to

Choose Destination
Wiley Interdiscip Rev RNA. 2014 Jul-Aug;5(4):577-89. doi: 10.1002/wrna.1232. Epub 2014 Apr 1.

Degradation of oligouridylated histone mRNAs: see UUUUU and goodbye.

Author information

Institute of Molecular Immunology, Research Unit of Molecular Immune Regulation, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Munich, Germany.


During the cell cycle the expression of replication-dependent histones is tightly coupled to DNA synthesis. Histone messenger RNA (mRNA) levels strongly increase during early S-phase and rapidly decrease at the end of it. Here, we review the degradation of replication-dependent histone mRNAs, a paradigm of post-transcriptional gene regulation, in the context of processing, translation, and oligouridylation. Replication-dependent histone transcripts are characterized by the absence of introns and by the presence of a stem-loop structure at the 3' end of a very short 3' untranslated region (UTR). These features, together with a need for active translation, are a prerequisite for their rapid decay. The degradation is induced by 3' end additions of untemplated uridines, performed by terminal uridyl transferases. Such 3' oligouridylated transcripts are preferentially bound by the heteroheptameric LSM1-7 complex, which also interacts with the 3'→5' exonuclease ERI1 (also called 3'hExo). Presumably in cooperation with LSM1-7 and aided by the helicase UPF1, ERI1 degrades through the stem-loop of oligouridylated histone mRNAs in repeated rounds of partial degradation and reoligouridylation. Although histone mRNA decay is now known in some detail, important questions remain open: How is ceasing nuclear DNA replication relayed to the cytoplasmic histone mRNA degradation? Why is translation important for this process? Recent research on factors such as SLIP1, DBP5, eIF3, CTIF, CBP80/20, and ERI1 has provided new insights into the 3' end formation, the nuclear export, and the translation of histone mRNAs. We discuss how these results fit with the preparation of histone mRNAs for degradation, which starts as early as these transcripts are generated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center