Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay: splicing, translation and mRNP dynamics

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2004 Feb;5(2):89-99. doi: 10.1038/nrm1310.


Studies of nonsense-mediated mRNA decay in mammalian cells have proffered unforeseen insights into changes in mRNA-protein interactions throughout the lifetime of an mRNA. Remarkably, mRNA acquires a complex of proteins at each exon-exon junction during pre-mRNA splicing that influences the subsequent steps of mRNA translation and nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. Complex-loaded mRNA is thought to undergo a pioneer round of translation when still bound by cap-binding proteins CBP80 and CBP20 and poly(A)-binding protein 2. The acquisition and loss of mRNA-associated proteins accompanies the transition from the pioneer round to subsequent rounds of translation, and from translational competence to substrate for nonsense-mediated mRNA decay.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Codon, Nonsense
  • Exons
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism
  • Models, Genetic
  • Protein Biosynthesis*
  • RNA Caps
  • RNA Precursors / metabolism*
  • RNA Splicing*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Ribonucleoproteins / metabolism*


  • Codon, Nonsense
  • Fungal Proteins
  • RNA Caps
  • RNA Precursors
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • messenger ribonucleoprotein