Staufen1 (STAU1)-mediated mRNA decay (SMD) is an mRNA degradation process in mammalian cells that is mediated by the binding of STAU1 to a STAU1-binding site (SBS) within the 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) of target mRNAs. During SMD, STAU1, a double-stranded (ds) RNA-binding protein, recognizes dsRNA structures formed either by intramolecular base pairing of 3'-UTR sequences or by intermolecular base pairing of 3'-UTR sequences with a long-noncoding RNA (lncRNA) via partially complementary Alu elements. Recently, STAU2, a paralog of STAU1, has also been reported to mediate SMD. Both STAU1 and STAU2 interact directly with the ATP-dependent RNA helicase UPF1, a key SMD factor, enhancing its helicase activity to promote effective SMD. Moreover, STAU1 and STAU2 form homodimeric and heterodimeric interactions via domain-swapping. Because both SMD and the mechanistically related nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) employ UPF1; SMD and NMD are competitive pathways. Competition contributes to cellular differentiation processes, such as myogenesis and adipogenesis, placing SMD at the heart of various physiologically important mechanisms.
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