The nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) pathway functions to degrade transcripts containing nonsense codons. Transcripts containing mutations that insert an upstream open reading frame (uORF) in the 5'-UTR are degraded through NMD. However, several naturally occurring uORF-containing transcripts are resistant to NMD. Here we demonstrate that the GCN4 and YAP1 mRNAs, which contain uORFs, harbor a stabilizer element (STE) that prevents rapid NMD by interacting with the RNA binding protein Pub1. Conversely, a uORF-containing mRNA that lacks an STE, such as CPA1, is degraded by the NMD pathway. These results indicate that uORFs can play a pivotal role regulating both translation and turnover and that the Pub1p is a critical factor that modulates the stability of uORF-containing transcripts.