Nonsense mutations in the COL1A1 gene preferentially reduce nuclear levels of mRNA but not hnRNA in osteogenesis imperfecta type I cell strains

Matrix Biol. 2000 Feb;19(1):1-9. doi: 10.1016/s0945-053x(99)00056-6.


Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is a heterogeneous disorder of type I collagen resulting in varying degrees of severity. The mildest form of OI (Type I) is associated with bone fragility, normal or near normal stature and blue sclerae. All forms of OI are the result of mutations in COL1A1 or COL1A2, the genes that encode the proalpha1(I) and proalpha2(I) chains of type I collagen, respectively. Mutations identified in patients with OI type I lead to premature termination codons and allele-specific reductions of nuclear mRNA (termed nonsense-mediated mRNA decay or NMD), resulting in a COL1A1 null allele. In mammals, this process primarily effects RNA that co-purifies with the nuclear fraction of the cell. Using a semi-quantitative RT-PCR assay, we compare the relative amounts of normal and mutant transcripts in unprocessed hnRNA and mature mRNA isolated from the nuclear fraction of cells from 11 OI type I individuals with previously identified mutations distributed throughout the COL1A1 gene. While we detect about equal amounts of normal and mutant hnRNA from each cell strain, there is preferential reduction in the relative amount of mutant mRNA when compared to normal; only the cell strain with a mutation in the last exon escapes the major effects of NMD. Our data indicate that NMD targets mRNA rather than hnRNA for degradation, and that this occurs either during or after splicing but prior to cytoplasmic translation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Nucleus
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Codon, Nonsense*
  • Codon, Terminator
  • Exons
  • Humans
  • Mutation*
  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta / genetics*
  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta / metabolism
  • Procollagen / genetics*
  • RNA, Heterogeneous Nuclear / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods


  • Codon, Nonsense
  • Codon, Terminator
  • Procollagen
  • RNA, Heterogeneous Nuclear
  • RNA, Messenger