NMD is essential for hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells and for eliminating by-products of programmed DNA rearrangements

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is a post-transcriptional surveillance process that eliminates mRNAs containing premature termination codons (PTCs). NMD has been hypothesized to impact on several aspects of cellular function; however, its importance in the context of a mammalian organism has not been addressed in detail. Here we use mouse genetics to demonstrate that hematopoietic-specific deletion of Upf2, a core NMD factor, led to the rapid, complete, and lasting cell-autonomous extinction of all hematopoietic stem and progenitor populations. In contrast, more differentiated cells were only mildly affected in Upf2-null mice, suggesting that NMD is mainly essential for proliferating cells. Furthermore, we show that UPF2 loss resulted in the accumulation of nonproductive rearrangement by-products from the Tcrb locus and that this, as opposed to the general loss of NMD, was particularly detrimental to developing T-cells. At the molecular level, gene expression analysis showed that Upf2 deletion led to a profound skewing toward up-regulated mRNAs, highly enriched in transcripts derived from processed pseudogenes, and that NMD impacts on regulated alternative splicing events. Collectively, our data demonstrate a unique requirement of NMD for organismal survival.


  • Joachim Weischenfeldt
  • Inge Damgaard
  • David Bryder
  • Kim Theilgaard-Moench
  • Lina Thorén
  • Finn Cilius Nielsen
  • Sten Eirik W Jacobsen
  • Claus Nerlov
  • Bo Torben Porse
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Genetics


  • alternative splicing, programmed DNA rearrangements, T-cell development, nonsense-mediated mRNA decay, hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, pseudogenes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1381-1396
JournalGenes & Development
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch