Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



Published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry 272:35 (August 29, 1997), pp. 22163–22172


Copyright © 1997 by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc. Used by permission.


In yeast, the accelerated rate of decay of nonsense mutant mRNAs, called nonsense-mediated mRNA decay, requires three proteins, Upf1p, Upf2p, and Upf3p. Single, double, and triple disruptions of the UPF genes had nearly identical effects on nonsense mRNA accumulation, suggesting that the encoded proteins function in a common pathway. We examined the distribution of epitope-tagged versions of Upf proteins by sucrose density gradient fractionation of soluble lysates and found that all three proteins co-distributed with 80 S ribosomal particles and polyribosomes. Treatment of ly-sates with RNase A caused a coincident collapse of polyribosomes and each Upf protein into frac-tions containing 80 S ribosomal particles, as expected for proteins that are associated with polyribosomes. Mutations in the cysteine-rich (zinc finger) and RNA helicase domains of Upf1p caused loss of function, but the mutant proteins remained polyribosome-associated. Density gradi-ent profiles for Upf1p were unchanged in the absence of Upf3p, and although similar, were modestly shifted to fractions lighter than those containing polyribosomes in the absence of Upf2p. Upf2p shifted toward heavier polyribosome fractions in the absence of Upf1p and into fractions containing 80 S particles and lighter fractions in the absence of Upf3p. Our results suggest that the association of Upf2p with polyribosomes typically found in a wild-type strain depends on the presence and opposing effects of Upf1p and Upf3p.

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