Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay pathway in plants under stress: general gene regulatory mechanism and advances

Rashmita Luha, Varnika Rana, Alexander Vainstein, Vinay Kumar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Main conclusion: Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay in eukaryotes is vital to cellular homeostasis. Further knowledge of its putative role in plant RNA metabolism under stress is pivotal to developing fitness-optimizing strategies. Abstract: Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD), part of the mRNA surveillance pathway, is an evolutionarily conserved form of gene regulation in all living organisms. Degradation of mRNA-bearing premature termination codons and regulation of physiological RNA levels highlight NMD’s role in shaping the cellular transcriptome. Initially regarded as purely a tool for cellular RNA quality control, NMD is now considered to mediate various aspects of plant developmental processes and responses to environmental changes. Here we offer a basic understanding of NMD in eukaryotes by explaining the concept of premature termination codon recognition and NMD complex formation. We also provide a detailed overview of the NMD mechanism and its role in gene regulation. The potential role of effectors, including ABCE1, in ribosome recycling during the translation process is also explained. Recent reports of alternatively spliced variants of corresponding genes targeted by NMD in Arabidopsis thaliana are provided in tabular format. Detailed figures are also provided to clarify the NMD concept in plants. In particular, accumulating evidence shows that NMD can serve as a novel alternative strategy for genetic manipulation and can help design RNA-based therapies to combat stress in plants. A key point of emphasis is its function as a gene regulatory mechanism as well as its dynamic regulation by environmental and developmental factors. Overall, a detailed molecular understanding of the NMD mechanism can lead to further diverse applications, such as improving cellular homeostasis in living organisms.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number51
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • Cellular homeostasis
  • Fitness enhancement
  • Gene regulation
  • Host–pathogen interaction
  • NMD
  • Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay
  • mRNA surveillance


Dive into the research topics of 'Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay pathway in plants under stress: general gene regulatory mechanism and advances'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this