Trends in Biochemical Sciences vol:31 issue:11 pages:639-646
Recent genome-wide identification of nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) targets in yeast, fruitfly and human cells has provided insight into the biological functions and evolution of this mRNA quality control mechanism, revealing that NMD post-transcriptionally regulates an important fraction of the transcriptome. NMD targets are associated with a broad range of biological processes, but most of these targets are not encoded by orthologous genes across different species. Yeast and fruitfly NMD effectors regulate common targets in concert, but parallel pathways have evolved in humans, whereby NMD effectors have acquired additional functions. Thus, the phenotypic differences observed across species after inhibition of NMD are driven not only by the functional diversification of NMD effectors but also by changes in the repertoire of regulated genes.