Hamid FM, Makeyev EV (2014) Emerging functions of alternative splicing coupled with nonsense-mediated decay.Biochem Soc Trans 42: 1168-73
Higher eukaryotes rely on AS (alternative splicing) of pre-mRNAs (mRNA precursors) to generate more than one protein product from a single gene and to regulate mRNA stability and translational activity. An important example of the latter function involves an interplay between AS and NMD (nonsense-mediated decay), a cytoplasmic quality control mechanism eliminating mRNAs containing PTCs (premature translation termination codons). Although originally identified as an error surveillance process, AS-NMD additionally provides an efficient strategy for deterministic regulation of gene expression outputs. In this review, we discuss recently published examples of AS-NMD and delineate functional contexts where recurrent use of this mechanism orchestrates expression of important genes.