The dharma of nonsense-mediated mRNA decay in mammalian cells.
Mol Cells. 2014; 37: 1-8
Mammalian-cell messenger RNAs (mRNAs) are generated in the nucleus from precursor RNAs (pre-mRNAs, which often contain one or more introns) that are complexed with an array of incompletely inventoried proteins. During their biogenesis, pre-mRNAs and their derivative mRNAs are subject to extensive cis-modifications. These modifications promote the binding of distinct polypeptides that mediate a diverse array of functions needed for mRNA metabolism, including nuclear export, inspection by the nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) quality-control machinery, and synthesis of the encoded protein product. Ribonucleoprotein complex (RNP) remodeling through the loss and gain of protein constituents before and after pre-mRNA splicing, during mRNA export, and within the cytoplasm facilitates NMD, ensuring integrity of the transcriptome. Here we review the mRNP rearrangements that culminate in detection and elimination of faulty transcripts by mammalian-cell NMD.