Hum Mol Genet 2005 Aug 6;14(16):2435-42. Epub 2005 Jul 6.
INSERM U434, Hôpital Saint-Louis, Paris, France.
The nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) system normally targets mRNAs with premature termination codons (PTCs) for rapid degradation. We investigated for a putative role of NMD in cancers with microsatellite instability (MSI-H cancers), because numerous mutant mRNAs containing PTC are generated in these tumors as a consequence of their mismatch repair deficiency. Using a quantitative RT-PCR approach in a large series of colorectal cancer cell lines, we demonstrate a significantly increased rate of degradation of mutant mRNAs containing a PTC compared with wild-type. A specific siRNA strategy was used to inhibit RENT-1 and/or RENT-2 activity, two major genes in the NMD system. This allowed us to show that increased degradation of PTC-containing mRNAs in MSI-H tumors was partly dependent upon NMD activity. The efficiency of NMD for the degradation of mutant mRNAs from target genes was highly variable in these cancers. NMD degraded some of them (TGFssRII, MSH3, GRK4), although allowing the persistent expression of others (BAX, TCF-4). This is of particular interest within the context of a proposed conservation of biological activity for the corresponding mutated proteins. We thus propose that NMD might play an important role in the selection of target gene mutations with a functional role in MSI-H carcinogenesis.
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