mRNA surveillance: the perfect persist

J Cell Sci. 2002 Aug 1;115(Pt 15):3033-8.


In eukaryotes, an elaborate set of mechanisms has evolved to ensure that the multistep process of gene expression is accurately executed and adapted to cellular needs. The mRNA surveillance pathway works in this context by assessing the quality of mRNAs to ensure that they are suitable for translation. mRNA surveillance facilitates the detection and destruction of mRNAs that contain premature termination codons by a process called nonsense-mediated decay. Moreover, recent studies have shown that a distinct mRNA surveillance process, called nonstop decay, is responsible for depleting mRNAs that lack in-frame termination codons. mRNA surveillance thereby prevents the synthesis of truncated and otherwise aberrant proteins, which can have dominant-negative and other deleterious effects.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Codon, Nonsense / genetics*
  • Eukaryotic Cells / cytology
  • Eukaryotic Cells / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Protein Biosynthesis* / genetics*
  • Proteins / genetics
  • RNA Helicases / genetics
  • RNA Helicases / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Trans-Activators


  • Codon, Nonsense
  • Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Trans-Activators
  • RNA Helicases
  • UPF1 protein, human