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, 29 (8), 436-44




Nicolas Cougot et al. Trends Biochem Sci.


distinctive feature of eukaryotic mRNA and small nuclear RNA (snRNA) that are transcribed by RNA polymerase II (Pol II) is the presence of a cap structure at their 5' end. This essential modification serves as an inviting 'landing pad' for factors that are involved in various cellular processes such as pre-mRNA splicing, nucleocytoplasmic RNA export and localization, and translation initiation. Because of the important functions mediated by the mRNA cap, this structure needs to be modified and/or degraded in a tightly controlled manner. Several cellular and viral systems implicated in cap metabolism have been uncovered recently; their analyses provide interesting new information on cell structure and function.

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