Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is a mechanism, which selectively degrades transcripts carrying premature termination codons (PTCs) and a variety of physiologic transcripts containing NMD-inducing features. In a recent study, we have found variable NMD efficiency among nasal epithelial cells obtained from cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. This variability was found for CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) transcripts carrying the W1282X PTC, as well as for several NMD physiologic substrates. Here, we aimed to investigate the possibility that variability in NMD efficiency is a more generalized phenomenon and is not restricted to nasal epithelial cells. To investigate this possibility, we analyzed the NMD efficiency of both a CFTR constructs carrying the W1282X PTC and β-globin constructs carrying the NS39 PTC, in HeLa and MCF7 cells. Variability in NMD efficiency was found for both constructs between the cells, such that in HeLa cells the NMD was highly efficient and in MCF7 the efficiency was significantly lower. Moreover, similar differences in the efficiency of NMD were found for five endogenous NMD physiologic transcripts. Altogether, our results demonstrate existence of cells in which NMD of all transcripts is efficient, whereas others in which the NMD is less efficient, suggesting that the efficiency of NMD is an inherent character of cells. Our results also suggest that variability in the efficiency of NMD is a general phenomenon and is not restricted to nasal epithelial cells. As NMD affects the level of many transcripts, variability in the NMD efficiency might play a role as a genetic modifier of different cellular functions.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank T Danieli, M Goldberg, and YS Oren for useful advice on the CFTR plasmid constructions. The work was partially supported by a grant from Yissum to Batsheva Kerem and a DFG Grant to Andreas E Kulozik.
- Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay
- Premature termination codons