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Mol Cell. 2006 Dec 28;24(6):943-53.

Identification of a rapid mammalian deadenylation-dependent decay pathway and its inhibition by a viral RNA element.

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Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06536, USA.


Cellular RNAs are subject to quality-control pathways that insure the fidelity of gene expression. We previously identified a 79 nt element, the ENE, that is essential for the nuclear accumulation of a viral polyadenylated nuclear (PAN) RNA. Here, we show that intron-less polyadenylated transcripts such as PAN RNA and beta-globin cRNA exhibit two-component exponential decay kinetics in which some transcripts are rapidly degraded (t(1/2) = approximately 15 min) while others decay more slowly (t(1/2) = approximately 3 hr). Inclusion of the ENE protects such transcripts from rapid decay in a poly(A)-dependent fashion. The ENE inhibits deadenylation and decay in nuclear extract and prevents deadenylation of naked RNA by a purified deadenylase, likely through snoRNA-like intramolecular hybridization with the poly(A) tail. The ENE causes increased accumulation of splicing-defective beta-globin pre-mRNAs in vivo. We propose that the ENE-controlled rapid-decay mechanism for polyadenylated transcripts comprises a nuclear pre-mRNA surveillance system in mammalian cells.

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