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Articles by O. Muhlemann
Total Records ( 2 ) for O. Muhlemann
  A. B Eberle , K Herrmann , H. M Jack and O. Muhlemann

During B cell maturation, immunoglobulin (Ig) genes frequently acquire premature translation-termination codons (PTCs) as a result of the somatic rearrangement of V, D, and J gene segments. However, it is essential for a B lymphocyte to produce only one kind of antibody and therefore to ensure that the heavy and light chain polypeptides are expressed exclusively from the corresponding functional alleles, whereas no protein is made from the nonproductively rearranged alleles. At the post-transcriptional level, a well-studied mRNA quality control mechanism, termed nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD), recognizes and degrades PTC-containing mRNAs in a translation-dependent manner. In addition, transcriptional silencing of PTC-containing Ig-µ and Ig- heavy chain reporter genes was observed in HeLa cells. To investigate the silencing of nonproductively rearranged Ig genes in a more physiological context, we analyzed a monoclonal line of immortalized murine pro-B cells harboring one productively (PTC–) and one nonproductively (PTC+) rearranged Ig-µ heavy chain allele. We show that the steady-state abundance of PTC+ mRNA was ~40-fold lower when compared to that of the PTC– mRNA. However, both the PTC+ and PTC– allele seemed to be equally well transcribed since the abundances of PTC+ and PTC– pre-mRNA were very similar and chromatin immunoprecipitations revealed comparable occupancy of RNA polymerase II and acetylated histone H3 on both alleles. Altogether, we found no evidence for transcriptional silencing of the PTC+ allele in this pro-B cell line; hence, the efficient down-regulation of the PTC+ Ig-µ mRNA results entirely from NMD.

  L Stalder and O. Muhlemann

Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is a eukaryotic quality-control mechanism that recognizes and degrades mRNAs with premature termination codons (PTCs). In yeast, PTC-containing mRNAs are targeted to processing bodies (P-bodies), and yeast strains expressing an ATPase defective Upf1p mutant accumulate P-bodies. Here we show that in human cells, an ATPase-deficient UPF1 mutant and a fraction of UPF2 and UPF3b accumulate in cytoplasmic foci that co-localize with P-bodies. Depletion of the P-body component Ge-1, which prevents formation of microscopically detectable P-bodies, also impairs the localization of mutant UPF1, UPF2, and UPF3b in cytoplasmic foci. However, the accumulation of the ATPase-deficient UPF1 mutant in P-bodies is independent of UPF2, UPF3b, or SMG1, and the ATPase-deficient UPF1 mutant can localize into the P-bodies independent of its phosphorylation status. Most importantly, disruption of P-bodies by depletion of Ge-1 affects neither the mRNA levels of PTC-containing reporter genes nor endogenous NMD substrates. Consistent with the recently reported decapping-independent SMG6-mediated endonucleolytic decay of human nonsense mRNAs, our results imply that microscopically detectable P-bodies are not required for mammalian NMD.

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