Nonsense-mediated-decay (NMD) is a eukaryotic RNA surveillance mechanism that controls the levels of both aberrant and normal transcripts. The regulation of this process is not well understood. The Arabidopsis NMD factor UPF3 is regulated by a negative feedback-loop that targets its own transcript for NMD. We investigated the functional significance of this control for the overall regulation of NMD in Arabidopsis. For this, we tested the ability of NMD-sensitive and -insensitive forms of UPF3, expressed under the control of UPF3 promoter, to complement NMD functionality in NMD-mutant plants and investigated their impact in wild-type (WT) plants. The sensitivity of UPF3 transcript to NMD was essential for efficient complementation of NMD in upf3 mutants. Upregulated UPF3 expression in WT plants resulted in over-degradation of certain transcripts and inhibited degradation of other transcripts. Our results demonstrate that, in contrast to mammalian cells, a delicate balance of UPF3 transcript levels by its feedback loop and by restriction of its transcription, are crucial for proper NMD regulation in Arabidopsis. Interestingly, the levels of many small-nucleolar-RNAs (snoRNAs) were decreased in upf1 and upf3 mutants and increased upon enhanced UPF3 expression. This suggests that proper snoRNA homeostasis in Arabidopsis depends on the integrity of the NMD pathway.
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© The Author(s) 2015.