Indexed on: 03 Apr '10Published on: 03 Apr '10Published in: The EMBO Journal
Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is a translation-linked process that destroys mRNAs with premature translation termination codons (PTCs). In mammalian cells, NMD is also linked to pre-mRNA splicing, usually PTCs trigger strong NMD only when positioned upstream of at least one intron. The exon junction complex (EJC) is believed to mediate the link between splicing and NMD in these systems. Here, we report that in Schizosaccharomyces pombe splicing also enhances NMD, but against the EJC model prediction, an intron stimulated NMD regardless of whether it is positioned upstream or downstream of the PTC and EJC components are not required. Still the effect of splicing seems to be direct-we have found that the important NMD determinant is the proximity of an intron to the PTC, not just the occurrence of splicing. On the basis of these results, we propose a new model to explain how splicing could affect NMD.