The process of mRNA decay and surveillance is considered to be one of the main posttranscriptional gene expression regulation platforms in eukaryotes. The degradation of stable, protein-coding transcripts is normally initiated by removal of the poly(A) tail followed by 5'-cap hydrolysis and degradation of the remaining mRNA body by Xrn1. Alternatively, the exosome complex degrades mRNA in the 3'>5'direction. The newly discovered uridinylation-dependent pathway, which is present in many different organisms, also seems to play a role in bulk mRNA degradation. Simultaneously, to avoid the synthesis of incorrect proteins, special cellular machinery is responsible for the removal of faulty transcripts via nonsense-mediated, no-go, non-stop or non-functional 18S rRNA decay. This review is focused on the major eukaryotic cytoplasmic mRNA degradation pathways showing many similarities and pointing out main differences between the main model-species: yeast, Drosophila, plants and mammals.
Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; Drosophila melanogaster; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Schizosaccharomyces pombe; human; mRNA decay; mRNA surveillance.