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Nonsense-mediated decay: paving the road for genome diversification

Tipo: Artículo
Código: 18798540
Autores: Sánchez-Sánchez, F.; Mittnacht S.
Títuto Revista: Bioessays
Páginas: 30(10):926-8
Centro: UB-IDIBA

The expression of protein-encoding genes is a complex process culminating in the production of mature mRNA and its translation by the ribosomes. The production of a mature mRNA involves an intricate series of processing steps. The majority of eukaryotic protein-encoding genes contain intron sequences that disrupt the protein-encoding frame, and hence have to be removed from immature mRNA prior to translation into protein. The mechanism involved in the selection of correct splice sites is incompletely understood. A considerable body of evidence suggests that the splicing machinery has suboptimal efficiency and fidelity leading to substantial processing inaccuracy. Here we discuss a recently published article that extends observations that cells rely on nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) to compensate for such suboptimal processing accuracy. Intriguingly these authors provide evidence for a strong selective pressure in favour of premature termination of mRNA translation in the event of intron retention. The analysis presented implies a positive role of NMD in transcript diversification through alternative splicing and suggest that this ancient surveillance mechanism may have co-evolved with intron acquisition born from the need for quality control of splicing patterns.