UPF1 (up-frameshift 1) is a protein conserved in all eukaryotes that is necessary for NMD (nonsense-mediated mRNA decay). UPF1 mainly localizes to the cytoplasm and, via mechanisms that are linked to translation termination but not yet well understood, stimulates rapid destruction of mRNAs carrying a PTC (premature translation termination codon). However, some studies have indicated that in human cells UPF1 has additional roles, possibly unrelated to NMD, which are carried out in the nucleus. These might involve telomere maintenance, cell cycle progression and DNA replication. In the present paper, we review the available experimental evidence implicating UPF1 in nuclear functions. The unexpected view that emerges from this literature is that the nuclear functions primarily stem from UPF1 having an important role in DNA replication, rather than NMD affecting the expression of proteins involved in these processes. Our bioinformatics survey of the interaction network of UPF1 with other human proteins, however, highlights that UPF1 also interacts with proteins associated with nuclear RNA degradation and transcription termination; therefore suggesting involvement in processes that could also impinge on DNA replication indirectly.

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