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

The product of the yeast UPF1 gene is required for rapid turnover of mRNAs containing a premature translational termination codon.

mRNA decay rates often increase when translation is terminated prematurely due to a frameshift or nonsense mutation. We have identified a yeast gene, UPF1, that codes for a trans-acting factor whose function is necessary for enhanced turnover of mRNAs containing a premature stop codon. In the absence of UPF1 function, frameshift or nonsense mutations in the HIS4 or LEU2 genes that normally cause rapid mRNA decay fail to have this effect. Instead, the mRNAs decay at rates similar to the corresponding wild-type mRNAs. The stabilization of frameshift or nonsense mRNAs observed in upf1- strains does not appear to result from enhanced readthrough of the termination signal. Loss of UPF1 function has no effect on the accumulation or stability of HIS4+ or LEU2+ mRNA, suggesting that the UPF1 product functions only in response to a premature termination signal. When we examined the accumulation and stability of other wild-type mRNAs in the presence or absence of UPF1, including MAT alpha 1, STE3, ACT1, PGK1, PAB1, and URA3 mRNAs, only the URA3 transcript was affected. On the basis of these and other results, the UPF1 product appears to participate in a previously uncharacterized pathway leading to the degradation of a limited class of yeast transcripts.[1]


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