Precursor RNAs harboring nonsense codons accumulate near the site of transcription

Mol Cell. 2001 Jul;8(1):33-43. doi: 10.1016/s1097-2765(01)00288-x.


Messenger RNAs containing premature termination codons (PTCs) are selectively eliminated by nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). Paradoxically, although cytoplasmic ribosomes are the only known species capable of PTC recognition, in mammals many PTC-containing mRNAs are apparently eliminated prior to release from the nucleus. To determine whether PTCs can influence events within the nucleus proper, we studied the immunoglobulin (Ig)-mu and T cell receptor (TCR)-beta genes using fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). Alleles containing PTCs, but not those containing a missense mutation or a frameshift followed by frame-correcting mutations, exhibited elevated levels of pre-mRNA, which accumulated at or near the site of transcription. Our data indicate that mRNA reading frame can influence events at or near the site of gene transcription.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Codon, Nonsense / genetics
  • Codon, Nonsense / metabolism*
  • Genes, Immunoglobulin*
  • Genes, T-Cell Receptor / genetics*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin mu-Chains / genetics*
  • Immunoglobulin mu-Chains / metabolism
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • RNA Precursors / genetics
  • RNA Precursors / metabolism*
  • RNA Splicing
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Transfection
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Codon, Nonsense
  • Immunoglobulin mu-Chains
  • RNA Precursors

Associated data

  • GENBANK/X00351