Indexed on: 23 Mar '04Published on: 23 Mar '04Published in: Nature Structural and Molecular Biology
The exon junction complex (EJC), a set of proteins deposited on mRNAs as a consequence of pre-mRNA splicing, is a key effector of downstream mRNA metabolism. We have identified eIF4AIII, a member of the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4A family of RNA helicases (also known as DExH/D box proteins), as a novel EJC core component. Crosslinking and antibody inhibition studies suggest that eIF4AIII constitutes at least part of the platform anchoring other EJC components to spliced mRNAs. A nucleocytoplasmic shuttling protein, eIF4AIII associates in vitro and in vivo with two other EJC core factors, Y14 and Magoh. In mammalian cells, eIF4AIII is essential for nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). Finally, a model is proposed by which eIF4AIII represents a new functional class of DExH/D box proteins that act as RNA clamps or 'place holders' for the sequence-independent attachment of additional factors to RNAs.