Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) largely functions to ensure the quality of gene expression. However, NMD is also crucial to regulating appropriate expression levels for certain genes and for maintaining genome stability. Furthermore, just as NMD serves cells in multiple ways, so do its constituent proteins. Recent studies have clarified that UPF and SMG proteins, which were originally discovered to function in NMD, also have roles in other pathways, including specialized pathways of mRNA decay, DNA synthesis and cell-cycle progression, and the maintenance of telomeres. These findings suggest a delicate balance of metabolic events - some not obviously related to NMD - that can be influenced by the cellular abundance, location and activity of NMD factors and their binding partners.