Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) restricts replication of mammalian RNA viruses

Mühlemann, Oliver (6 July 2014). Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) restricts replication of mammalian RNA viruses (Unpublished). In: Mechanisms of mRNA decay (FASEB SRC). Big Sky, Montana, USA. 06.07.-11.07.2014.

A genome-wide siRNA screen against host factors that affect the infection of Semliki Forest virus (SFV), a positive-strand (+)RNA virus, revealed that components of the nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) pathway restrict early, post-entry steps of the infection cycle. In HeLa cells and primary human fibroblasts, knockdown of UPF1, SMG5 and SMG7 leads to increased levels of viral proteins and RNA and to higher titers of released virus. The inhibitory effect of NMD was stronger when the efficiency of virus replication was impaired by mutations or deletions in the replicase proteins. Accordingly, impairing NMD resulted in a more than 20-fold increased production of these attenuated viruses. Our data suggest that intrinsic features of genomic and sub-genomic viral mRNAs, most likely the extended 3'-UTR length, make them susceptible to NMD. The fact that SFV replication is entirely cytoplasmic strongly suggests that degradation of the viral RNA occurs through the exon junction complex (EJC)-independent mode of NMD. Collectively, our findings uncover a new biological function for NMD as an intrinsic barrier to the translation of early viral proteins and the amplification of (+)RNA viruses in animal cells. Thus, in addition to its role in mRNA surveillance and post-transcriptional gene regulation, NMD also contributes to protect cells from RNA viruses.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (DCBP)

UniBE Contributor:

Mühlemann, Oliver


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 540 Chemistry




Christina Schüpbach

Date Deposited:

23 Dec 2014 14:34

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:38


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