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A DIStinctively novel exoribonuclease that really likes U

Imed E Gallouzi, Jeffrey Wilusz

Author Affiliations

  • Imed E Gallouzi, 1 Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Center, Department of Biochemistry, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Jeffrey Wilusz, 2 Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA

Regulated degradation plays a major role in determining the levels of both non‐coding (miRNA) and coding (mRNA) transcripts. Thus, insights into the factors and pathways that influence this process have broad, interdisciplinary implications. New findings by Malecki et al (2013), Lubas et al (2013), and Chang et al (2013) identify the protein Dis3L2 as a major player in the 3′–5′ exonucleolytic decay of transcripts. Furthermore, they demonstrate a strong connection between terminal uridylation of the RNA substrate and enzymatic activity.

Looking for a set of truly high impact, paradigm‐shifting papers for your Molecular Biology Journal Club this week that will cause your audience to put down their snack and drink and really take notice? Try the recently published studies by Malecki et al (2013), Lubas et al (2013), and/or Chang et al (2013). If these do not turn heads during your discussions, track one of us down at a meeting this summer and we will buy you a cold beverage.

The level of RNAs in the cell is not simply a product of transcription, but is also heavily influenced by the relative stability of the transcript. For the past 15 years, the enzymes involved in general mRNA decay have been firmly entrenched in the field. In general, mRNAs are targeted for decay in the cytoplasm as soon as they are no longer needed. Once an RNA undergoes deadenylation or endonucleolytic cleavage, it becomes subjected to decapping and Xrn1‐mediated 5′–3′ decay and/or 3–5′ exonucleolytic decay by the Dis3 subunit of the exosome (Schoenberg and Maquat, 2012). A few years ago, interesting work started a ripple in the placid waters of the mRNA decay pool by indicating that non‐polyadenylated histone mRNA decay (Mullen and Marzluff, 2008), mRNA decay in S. pombe (Rissland and …

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