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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Nonsense mediated decay downregulates conserved alternatively spliced ABCC4 transcripts bearing nonsense codons.

Drug transporters are an important part of the defense of cells against cytotoxic agents. One major group of transporters is known as multidrug resistance associated proteins ( MRP; ABCC gene family). The MRPs belong to the ATP binding cassette transporter superfamily. One family member, ABCC4 (also known as MRP4) functions as a cellular efflux pump for anti-HIV drugs, such as 9-(2-phoshoenylmethoxyethyl) adenine and azido-thymidine-monophosphate, an antiviral nucleotide, ganciclovir-monophosphate, and anti-cancer agents such as thiopurines. We isolated a ABCC4 cDNA encoding a non-functional protein, owing to an insertion, and subsequently determined the ABCC4 gene structure. This analysis revealed that the insertion was attributed to two additional exons that would be predicted to produce premature termination codons (PTC) in ABCC4. The highly similar mouse Abcc4 gene also contained these exons, which were remarkable because their size and sequence identity were much higher than the overall similarity between these genes. Further, a comparison of human, monkey and rodent ABCC4 genes revealed that these same PTC-producing exons were also highly conserved in evolution. As all the ABCC4 mRNA containing these PTC exons might produce nonsense mRNA, we further tested the hypothesis that these mRNAs were targets of nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). Protein synthesis inhibition selectively stabilized PTC containing ABCC4 transcripts in human, monkey and rodent cell lines. Moreover, the amount of PTC-containing ABCC4 transcripts was critically dependent upon protein synthesis, as removal of the inhibitor dramatically decreased expression, which correlated with the resumption of protein synthesis. These are the first studies to indicate that the highly conserved PTC exons of the ABCC4 gene may dictate its expression.[1]


  1. Nonsense mediated decay downregulates conserved alternatively spliced ABCC4 transcripts bearing nonsense codons. Lamba, J.K., Adachi, M., Sun, D., Tammur, J., Schuetz, E.G., Allikmets, R., Schuetz, J.D. Hum. Mol. Genet. (2003) [Pubmed]
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