A nonsense mutation at codon Glu180 in exon 11 of slow skeletal muscle troponin T (TnT) gene (TNNT1) causes an autosomal-recessive inherited nemaline myopathy. We previously reported the absence of intact or prematurely terminated slow TnT polypeptide in Amish nemaline myopathy (ANM) patient muscle. The present study further investigates the expression and fate of mutant slow TnT in muscle cells. Intact slow TnT mRNA was readily detected in patient muscle, indicating unaffected transcription and RNA splicing. Sequence of the cloned cDNAs revealed the single nucleotide mutation in two alternatively spliced isoforms of slow TnT mRNA. Mutant TNNT1 cDNA is translationally active in Escherichia coli and non-muscle eukaryotic cells, producing the expected truncated slow TnT protein. The mutant mRNA was expressed at significant levels in differentiated C2C12 myotubes, but unlike intact exogenous TnT, truncated slow TnT protein was not detected. Transfective expression in undifferentiated myoblasts produced slow TnT mRNA but not a detectable amount of truncated or intact slow TnT proteins, indicating a muscle cell-specific proteolysis of TnT when it is not integrated into myofilaments. The slow TnT-(1–179) fragment has substantially lower affinity for binding to tropomyosin, in keeping with the loss of one of two tropomyosin-binding sites. Our findings suggest that inefficient incorporation into myofilament is responsible for the instability of mutant slow TnT in ANM muscle. Rapid degradation of the truncated slow TnT protein, rather than instability of the nonsense mRNA, provides the protective mechanism against the potential dominant negative effect of the mutant TnT fragment.