Proteins involved in the degradation of cytoplasmic mRNA in the major eukaryotic model systems

RNA Biol. 2014;11(9):1122-36. doi: 10.4161/rna.34406.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism*
  • Eukaryotic Cells / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • RNA Stability / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*


  • Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger