The evolution and diversity of the nonsense-mediated mRNA decay pathway

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay is a eukaryotic pathway that degrades transcripts with premature termination codons (PTCs). In most eukaryotes, thousands of transcripts are degraded by NMD, including many important regulators of development and stress response pathways. Transcripts can be targeted to NMD by the presence of an upstream ORF or by introduction of a PTC through alternative splicing. Many factors involved in the recognition of PTCs and the destruction of NMD targets have been characterized. While some are highly conserved, others have been repeatedly lost in eukaryotic lineages. Here, I outline the factors involved in NMD, our current understanding of their interactions and how they have evolved. I outline a classification system to describe NMD pathways based on the presence/absence of key NMD factors. These types of NMD pathways exist in multiple different lineages, indicating the plasticity of the NMD pathway through recurrent losses of NMD factors during eukaryotic evolution. By classifying the NMD pathways in this way, gaps in our understanding are revealed, even within well studied organisms. Finally, I discuss the likely driving force behind the origins of the NMD pathway before the appearance of the last eukaryotic common ancestor: transposable element expansion and the consequential origin of introns.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
JournalF1000Research
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

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Nonsense Mediated mRNA Decay
DNA Transposable Elements
Nonsense Codon
Alternative Splicing
Introns
Plasticity
Messenger RNA
Eukaryota
Open Reading Frames

Cite this

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The evolution and diversity of the nonsense-mediated mRNA decay pathway. / Lloyd, James P.B.

In: F1000Research, Vol. 7, 01.01.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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AB - Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay is a eukaryotic pathway that degrades transcripts with premature termination codons (PTCs). In most eukaryotes, thousands of transcripts are degraded by NMD, including many important regulators of development and stress response pathways. Transcripts can be targeted to NMD by the presence of an upstream ORF or by introduction of a PTC through alternative splicing. Many factors involved in the recognition of PTCs and the destruction of NMD targets have been characterized. While some are highly conserved, others have been repeatedly lost in eukaryotic lineages. Here, I outline the factors involved in NMD, our current understanding of their interactions and how they have evolved. I outline a classification system to describe NMD pathways based on the presence/absence of key NMD factors. These types of NMD pathways exist in multiple different lineages, indicating the plasticity of the NMD pathway through recurrent losses of NMD factors during eukaryotic evolution. By classifying the NMD pathways in this way, gaps in our understanding are revealed, even within well studied organisms. Finally, I discuss the likely driving force behind the origins of the NMD pathway before the appearance of the last eukaryotic common ancestor: transposable element expansion and the consequential origin of introns.

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