Early nonsense: mRNA decay solves a translational problem

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2006 Jun;7(6):415-25. doi: 10.1038/nrm1942.


Gene expression is highly accurate and rarely generates defective proteins. Several mechanisms ensure this fidelity, including specialized surveillance pathways that rid the cell of mRNAs that are incompletely processed or that lack complete open reading frames. One such mechanism, nonsense-mediated mRNA decay, is triggered when ribosomes encounter a premature translation-termination--or nonsense--codon. New evidence indicates that the specialized factors that are recruited for this process not only promote rapid mRNA degradation, but are also required to resolve a poorly dissociable termination complex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Codon, Nonsense / metabolism
  • Codon, Terminator / metabolism
  • Protein Biosynthesis / genetics*
  • RNA Stability*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Ribosomes / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Codon, Nonsense
  • Codon, Terminator
  • RNA, Messenger