RNA editing in land plant organelles is a process primarily involving the conversion of cytidine to uridine in pre-mRNAs. The process is required for gene expression in plant organelles, because this conversion alters the encoded amino acid residues and improves the sequence identity to homologous proteins. A recent study uncovered that proteins encoded in the nuclear genome are essential for editing site recognition in chloroplasts; the mechanisms by which this recognition occurs remain unclear. To understand these mechanisms, we determined the genomic and cDNA sequences of moss Takakia lepidozioides chloroplast genes, then computationally analyzed the sequences within −30 to +10 nucleotides of RNA editing sites (neighbor sequences) likely to be recognized by trans-factors. As the T. lepidozioides chloroplast has many RNA editing sites, the analysis of these sequences provides a unique opportunity to perform statistical analyses of chloroplast RNA editing sites. We divided the 302 obtained neighbor sequences into eight groups based on sequence similarity to identify group-specific patterns. The patterns were then applied to predict novel RNA editing sites in T. lepidozioides transcripts; ∼60% of these predicted sites are true editing sites. The success of this prediction algorithm suggests that the obtained patterns are indicative of key sites recognized by trans-factors around editing sites of T. lepidozioides chloroplast genes.
bioinformatics; chloroplast; computational biology; plant organelle; singlet and doublet propensities; Takakia lepidozioides
In plants, RNA editing is a process that converts specific cytidines to uridines and uridines to cytidines in transcripts from virtually all mitochondrial protein-coding genes. There are thousands of plant mitochondrial genes in the sequence databases, but sites of RNA editing have not been determined for most. Accurate methods of RNA editing site prediction will be important in filling in this information gap and could reduce or even eliminate the need for experimental determination of editing sites for many sequences. Because RNA editing tends to increase protein conservation across species by "correcting" codons that specify unconserved amino acids, this principle can be used to predict editing sites by identifying positions where an RNA editing event would increase the conservation of a protein to homologues from other plants. PREP-Mt takes this approach to predict editing sites for any protein-coding gene in plant mitochondria.
To test the general applicability of the PREP-Mt methodology, RNA editing sites were predicted for 370 full-length or nearly full-length DNA sequences and then compared to the known sites of RNA editing for these sequences. Of 60,263 cytidines in this test set, PREP-Mt correctly classified 58,994 as either an edited or unedited site (accuracy = 97.9%). PREP-Mt properly identified 3,038 of the 3,698 known sites of RNA editing (sensitivity = 82.2%) and 55,956 of the 56,565 known unedited sites (specificity = 98.9%). Accuracy and sensitivity increased to 98.7% and 94.7%, respectively, after excluding the 489 silent editing sites (which have no effect on protein sequence or function) from the test set.
These results indicate that PREP-Mt is effective at identifying C to U RNA editing sites in plant mitochondrial protein-coding genes. Thus, PREP-Mt should be useful in predicting protein sequences for use in molecular, biochemical, and phylogenetic analyses. In addition, PREP-Mt could be used to determine functionality of a mitochondrial gene or to identify particular sequences with unusual editing properties. The PREP-Mt methodology should be applicable to any system where RNA editing increases protein conservation across species.
Plant mitochondrial mRNAs have recently been shown to undergo editing, involving cytidine-to-uridine changes relative to the DNA sequence. We have examined the temporal relationship of editing and intron removal in coxII mRNAs in Petunia mitochondria. By using differential hybridization to probes specific for edited and unedited RNA and by sequencing of individual unspliced coxII pre-mRNA cDNAs, we found that RNA editing at any editing site can precede the splicing event. Similar results were obtained from examinations of pre-mRNA cDNAs of nad1, a gene composed of multiple exons that are both cis and trans spliced. Thus, intron removal is not required before editing can occur. The existence of editing intermediates indicates that the editing process is not strictly coincident with transcription.
RNA editing is a transcript-based layer of gene regulation. To date, no systemic study on RNA editing of plant nuclear genes has been reported. Here, a transcriptome-wide search for editing sites in nuclear transcripts of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) was performed.
MPSS (massively parallel signature sequencing) and PARE (parallel analysis of RNA ends) data retrieved from public databases were utilized, focusing on one-base-conversion editing. Besides cytidine (C)-to-uridine (U) editing in mitochondrial transcripts, many nuclear transcripts were found to be diversely edited. Interestingly, a sizable portion of these nuclear genes are involved in chloroplast- or mitochondrion-related functions, and many editing events are tissue-specific. Some editing sites, such as adenosine (A)-to-U editing loci, were found to be surrounded by peculiar elements. The editing events of some nuclear transcripts are highly enriched surrounding the borders between coding sequences (CDSs) and 3′ untranslated regions (UTRs), suggesting site-specific editing. Furthermore, RNA editing is potentially implicated in new start or stop codon generation, and may affect alternative splicing of certain protein-coding transcripts. RNA editing in the precursor microRNAs (pre-miRNAs) of ath-miR854 family, resulting in secondary structure transformation, implies its potential role in microRNA (miRNA) maturation.
To our knowledge, the results provide the first global view of RNA editing in plant nuclear transcripts.
Uridine insertion/deletion RNA editing is a post-transcriptional RNA modification occurring in the mitochondria of kinetoplastid protozoa. The U-insertion/deletion Edited Sequence Database is a compilation of mitochondrial genes and edited mRNAs from five kinetoplastid species. It contains separate files with the DNA, mRNA (both unedited and edited) and predicted protein sequences, as well as alignments of the Leishmania tarentolae and Trypanosoma brucei protein sequences from edited and unedited genes. The sequence files are in GCG format. A 'map' sequence file showing the location of U-deletions, U-insertions and the translated amino acid sequences is also provided for each gene. Genomic maps for each species are also provided with clickable genes, including maxicircle-encoded gRNAs. Sets of aligned nuclear rRNA sequences from kinetoplastid protozoa are also provided, which were used for phylogenetic reconstructions in an analysis of the origin of RNA editing. The database is available through the World Wide Web as an HTML document at the URLhttp://www.lifesci.ucla.edu/RNA/trypanosome/ database.html
RNA editing alters plant mitochondrial and chloroplast transcripts by converting specific cytidines to uridines, which usually results in a change in the amino acid sequence of the translated protein. Systematic studies have experimentally identified sites of RNA editing in organellar transcriptomes from several species, but these analyses have not kept pace with rate of genome sequencing. The PREP (predictive RNA editors for plants) suite was developed to computationally predict sites of RNA editing based on the well-known principle that editing in plant organelles increases the conservation of proteins across species. The PREP suite provides predictive RNA editors for plant mitochondrial genes (PREP-Mt), for chloroplast genes (PREP-Cp), and for alignments submitted by the user (PREP-Aln). These servers require minimal input, are very fast, and are highly accurate on all seed plants examined to date. PREP-Mt has proved useful in several research studies and the newly developed PREP-Cp and PREP-Aln servers should be of further assistance for analyses that require knowledge of the location of sites of RNA editing. The PREP suite is freely available at http://prep.unl.edu/.
In flowering plants, mitochondrial and chloroplast mRNAs are edited by C-to-U base modification. In plant organelles, RNA editing appears to be generally a correcting mechanism that restores the proper function of the encoded product. Members of the Arabidopsis RNA editing-Interacting Protein (RIP) family have been recently shown to be essential components of the plant editing machinery. We report the use of a strand- and transcript-specific RNA-seq method (STS-PCRseq) to explore the effect of mutation or silencing of every RIP gene on plant organelle editing. We confirm RIP1 to be a major editing factor that controls the editing extent of 75% of the mitochondrial sites and 20% of the plastid C targets of editing. The quantitative nature of RNA sequencing allows the precise determination of overlapping effects of RIP factors on RNA editing. Over 85% of the sites under the influence of RIP3 and RIP8, two moderately important mitochondrial factors, are also controlled by RIP1. Previously uncharacterized RIP family members were found to have only a slight effect on RNA editing. The preferential location of editing sites controlled by RIP7 on some transcripts suggests an RNA metabolism function for this factor other than editing. In addition to a complete characterization of the RIP factors for their effect on RNA editing, our study highlights the potential of RNA-seq for studying plant organelle editing. Unlike previous attempts to use RNA-seq to analyze RNA editing extent, our methodology focuses on sequencing of organelle cDNAs corresponding to known transcripts. As a result, the depth of coverage of each editing site reaches unprecedented values, assuring a reliable measurement of editing extent and the detection of numerous new sites. This strategy can be applied to the study of RNA editing in any organism.
RNA editing is a co- or post-transcriptional RNA processing reaction that changes the nucleotide sequence of the RNA substrate. In flowering plants, mRNA editing is confined to organelle transcripts, altering cytidine to uridine. Recently, some members of a small Arabidopsis gene family were found to be important for editing of chloroplast and mitochondrial transcripts. Several methods have been developed to measure the amount of edited transcripts at specific Cs, but most of these methods either lack sensitivity or are unable to determine the number and location of edited Cs in a particular transcript. While sensitive assays have been previously developed, they are costly and labor-intensive precluding their use on a large-scale. In order to characterize the role of an entire gene family in RNA editing, we have successfully adapted RNA sequencing technology to characterize the effect of mutation and silencing of family members on organelle RNA editing. Our method to measure editing extent is sensitive, reliable, and cost-effective. As well as detecting additional family members that play a role in RNA editing, we have detected numerous new editing sites. Our strategy should benefit the investigation of RNA editing in any organism.
RNA editing post-transcriptionally modifies several mRNAs from the maxicircle of kinetoplastid parasites by addition and removal of uridine residues. We report here that maxicircle CR5 transcripts of Trypanosoma brucei are edited in two domains separated by an eight nucleotide sequence that remains unedited. The large 5' domain is edited to a consensus sequence while the smaller 3' domain is edited to multiple final sequences. In all, 205-217 Us are inserted and 13-16 encoded uridines are deleted from the CR5 mRNA, producing a mature transcript 75-80% larger than the unedited transcript. The edited RNAs predict small, highly hydrophobic proteins. The carboxy terminal 15-30% of these predicted proteins have multiple different amino acid sequences as a result of the variable edited 3' mRNA sequence, but these fall into two families of sequence. Limited amino acid sequence and hydrophobicity profile similarities suggest that the protein encoded by edited CR5 mRNA may be a subunit of NADH dehydrogenase.
Six short G-rich intergenic regions in the maxicircle of Leishmania tarentolae are conserved in location and polarity in two other kinetoplastid species. We show here that G-rich region 6 (G6) represents a pan-edited cryptogene which contains at least two domains edited independently in a 3'-to-5' manner connected by short unedited regions. In the completely edited RNA, 117 uridines are added at 49 sites and 32 uridines are deleted at 13 sites, creating a translated 85-amino-acid polypeptide. Similar polypeptides are probably encoded by pan-edited G6 transcripts in two other species. The G6 polypeptide has significant sequence similarity to the family of S12 ribosomal proteins. A minicircle-encoded gRNA overlaps 12 editing sites in G6 mRNA, and chimeric gRNA/mRNA molecules were shown to exist, in agreement with the transesterification model for editing.
Pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) proteins with an E domain have been identified as specific factors for C to U RNA editing in plant organelles. These PPR proteins bind to a unique sequence motif 5′ of their target editing sites. Recently, involvement of a combinatorial amino acid code in the P (normal length) and S type (short) PPR domains in sequence specific RNA binding was reported. PPR proteins involved in RNA editing, however, contain not only P and S motifs but also their long variants L (long) and L2 (long2) and the S2 (short2) motifs. We now find that inclusion of these motifs improves the prediction of RNA editing target sites. Previously overlooked RNA editing target sites are suggested from the PPR motif structures of known E-class PPR proteins and are experimentally verified. RNA editing target sites are assigned for the novel PPR protein MEF32 (mitochondrial editing factor 32) and are confirmed in the cDNA.
Several genes of the Trypanosoma brucei mitochondrial genome (the maxicircle) encode mRNAs that are so extensively altered by RNA editing that the gene cannot be identified by analysis of the DNA sequence. The 322-nucleotide preedited RNA of one of these genes, CR2, is converted into a 647-nucleotide transcript by the addition of 345 uridines and the deletion of 20 genomically encoded uridines. The fully edited transcript has an open reading frame that predicts a 194-amino-acid protein. This protein, which we name ND9 (NADH dehydrogenase subunit 9), has homology to a subunit of NADH dehydrogenase (respiratory complex I). Seven guide RNAs that can specify edited CR2 sequence have been identified. Steady-state levels of unedited ND9 transcripts are greater in bloodstream than in procyclic forms, but edited ND9 mRNA is present in similar abundance in both life cycle stages.
RNA editing is a post-transcriptional process that, in seed plants, involves a cytosine to uracil change in messenger RNA, causing the translated protein to differ from that predicted by the DNA sequence. RNA editing occurs extensively in plant mitochondria, but large differences in editing frequencies are found in some groups. The underlying processes responsible for the distribution of edited sites are largely unknown, but gene function, substitution rate, and gene conversion have been proposed to influence editing frequencies.
We studied five mitochondrial genes in the monocot order Alismatales, all showing marked differences in editing frequencies among taxa. A general tendency to lose edited sites was observed in all taxa, but this tendency was particularly strong in two clades, with most of the edited sites lost in parallel in two different areas of the phylogeny. This pattern is observed in at least four of the five genes analyzed. Except in the groups that show an unusually low editing frequency, the rate of C-to-T changes in edited sites was not significantly higher that in non-edited 3rd codon positions. This may indicate that selection is not actively removing edited sites in nine of the 12 families of the core Alismatales. In all genes but ccmB, a significant correlation was found between frequency of change in edited sites and synonymous substitution rate. In general, taxa with higher substitution rates tend to have fewer edited sites, as indicated by the phylogenetically independent correlation analyses. The elimination of edited sites in groups that lack or have reduced levels of editing could be a result of gene conversion involving a cDNA copy (retroprocessing). If so, this phenomenon could be relatively common in the Alismatales, and may have affected some groups recurrently. Indirect evidence of retroprocessing without a necessary correlation with substitution rate was found mostly in families Alismataceae and Hydrocharitaceae (e.g., groups that suffered a rapid elimination of all their edited sites, without a change in substitution rate).
The effects of substitution rate, selection, and/or gene conversion on the dynamics of edited sites in plant mitochondria remain poorly understood. Although we found an inverse correlation between substitution rate and editing frequency, this correlation is partially obscured by gene retroprocessing in lineages that have lost most of their edited sites. The presence of processed paralogs in plant mitochondria deserves further study, since most evidence of their occurrence is circumstantial.
RNA editing is a post-transcriptional process that can act upon transcripts from mitochondrial, nuclear, and chloroplast genomes. In chloroplasts, single-nucleotide conversions in mRNAs via RNA editing occur at different frequencies across the plant kingdom. These range from several hundred edited sites in some mosses and ferns to lower frequencies in seed plants and the complete lack of RNA editing in the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha. Here, we report the sequence and edited sites of the chloroplast genome from the liverwort Pellia endiviifolia. The type and frequency of chloroplast RNA editing display a pattern highly similar to that in seed plants. Analyses of the C to U conversions and the genomic context in which the editing sites are embedded provide evidence in favor of the hypothesis that chloroplast RNA editing evolved to compensate mutations in the first land plants.
liverwort; plastid; RNA editing; evolution; land plants
C-to-U RNA editing has been widely observed in organellar RNAs in terrestrial plants. Recent research has revealed the significance of a large, plant-specific family of pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) proteins for RNA editing and other RNA processing events in plant mitochondria and chloroplasts. PPR protein is a sequence-specific RNA-binding protein that identifies specific C residues for editing. Discovery of the RNA recognition code for PPR motifs, including verification and prediction of the individual RNA editing site and its corresponding PPR protein, expanded our understanding of the molecular function of PPR proteins in plant organellar RNA editing. Using this knowledge and the co-expression database, we have identified two new PPR proteins that mediate chloroplast RNA editing. Further, computational target assignment using the PPR RNA recognition codes suggests a distinct, unknown mode-of-action, by which PPR proteins serve a function beyond site recognition in RNA editing.
chloroplast; mitochondria; plant; PPR; RNA editing
RNA editing occurs in two higher-plant organelles, chloroplasts and mitochondria. Because chloroplasts and mitochondria exhibit some similarity in editing site selection, we investigated whether mitochondrial RNA sequences could be edited in chloroplasts. We produced transgenic tobacco plants that contained chimeric genes in which the second exon of a Petunia hybrida mitochondrial coxII gene was under the control of chloroplast gene regulatory sequences. coxII transcripts accumulated to low or high levels in transgenic chloroplasts containing chimeric genes with the plastid ribosomal protein gene rps16 or the rRNA operon promoter, respectively. Exon 2 of coxII was chosen because it carries seven editing sites and is edited in petunia mitochondria even when located in an abnormal context in an aberrant recombined gene. When editing of the coxII transcripts in transgenic chloroplasts was examined, no RNA editing at any of the usual sites was detected, nor was there any novel editing at any other sites. These results indicate that the RNA editing mechanisms of chloroplasts and mitochondria are not identical but must have at least some organelle-specific components.
Eighteen cytidines are changed to uridines in the coding sequence of transcripts for cytochrome c oxidase subunit 2 (cox2) in maize mitochondria. The temporal relationship of editing and splicing was examined in cox2 transcripts by sequence analysis of spliced and unspliced cDNAs. Cloned cDNAs of unspliced cox2 transcripts ranged from clones with no edited nucleotides to completely edited forms, while spliced cDNAs were nearly completely edited. Incompletely edited transcripts in the nascent pool of unspliced transcripts represent intermediates of the editing process. These results indicate that editing proceeds without a strong directional bias and suggest that RNA editing is a posttranscriptional process.
Three nonsense codons and an unusual initiation codon were located within the putative coding region of the atpB gene of chloroplast DNA of the hornwort Anthoceros formosae. Nucleotide sequencing of cDNA prepared from transcripts revealed extensive RNA editing. The unusual initiation codon ACG was changed to AUG and three nonsense codons were converted into sense codons. In total 15 C residues of the genomic DNA were replaced by U residues in the mRNA sequences, while 14 U residues were replaced by C residues. This is the highest number of editing events for a chloroplast mRNA reported so far. Partial editing was also shown in a cDNA clone where 23 sites were edited but six sites remained unedited, representing the existence of premature mRNA. The expected two-dimensional structure of the mRNA shows the existence of a sequence complementary to every editing site, which can produce continuous base pairing longer than 5 bp, suggesting that mispairing in the double strand is the site determinant for RNA editing in Anthoceros chloroplasts. Comparison of the cDNA sequence with other chloroplast genes suggests that the mechanism arose in the first land plants and has been reduced during evolution.
The C->U editing of RNA is widely found in plant and animal species. In mammals it is a discrete process confined to the editing of apolipoprotein B (apoB) mRNA in eutherians and the editing of the mitochondrial tRNA for glycine in marsupials. Here we have identified and characterised apoB mRNA editing in the American opossum Monodelphus domestica. The apoB mRNA editing site is highly conserved in the opossum and undergoes complete editing in the small intestine, but not in the liver or other tissues. Opossum APOBEC-1 cDNA was cloned, sequenced and expressed. The encoded protein is similar to APOBEC-1 of eutherians. Motifs previously identified as involved in zinc binding, RNA binding and catalysis, nuclear localisation and a C-terminal leucine-rich domain are all conserved. Opossum APOBEC-1 contains a seven amino acid C-terminal extension also found in humans and rabbits, but not present in rodents. The opossum APOBEC-1 gene has the same intron/exon organisation in the coding sequence as the eutherian gene. Northern blot and RT-PCR analyses and an editing assay indicate that no APOBEC-1 was expressed in the liver. Thus the far upstream promoter responsible for hepatic expression in rodents does not operate in the opossum. An APOBEC-1-like enzyme such as might be involved in C->U RNA editing of tRNA in marsupial mitochondria was not demonstrated. The activity of opossum APOBEC-1 in the presence of both chicken and rodent auxiliary editing proteins was comparable to that of other mammals. These studies extend the origins of APOBEC-1 back 170 000 000 years to marsupials and help bridge the gap in the origins of this RNA editing process between birds and eutherian mammals.
Apolipoprotein B (apoB) RNA editing involves a cytidine to uridine transition at nucleotide 6666 (C6666) 5' of an essential cis -acting 11 nucleotide motif known as the mooring sequence. APOBEC-1 (apoB editing catalytic sub-unit 1) serves as the site-specific cytidine deaminase in the context of a multiprotein assembly, the editosome. Experimental over-expression of APOBEC-1 resulted in an increased proportion of apoB mRNAs edited at C6666, as well as editing of sites that would otherwise not be recognized (promiscuous editing). In the rat hepatoma McArdle cell line, these sites occurred predominantly 5' of the mooring sequence on either rat or human apoB mRNA expressed from transfected cDNA. In comparison, over-expression of APOBEC-1 in HepG2 (HepG2-APOBEC) human hepatoma cells, induced promiscuous editing primarily 5' of the mooring sequence, but sites 3' of the C6666 were also used more efficiently. The capacity for promiscuous editing was common to rat, rabbit and human sources of APOBEC-1. The data suggested that differences in the distribution of promiscuous editing sites and in the efficiency of their utilization may reflect cell-type-specific differences in auxiliary proteins. Deletion of the mooring sequence abolished editing at the wild type site and markedly reduced, but did not eliminate, promiscuous editing. In contrast, deletion of a pair of tandem UGAU motifs 3' of the mooring sequence in human apoB mRNA selectively reduced promiscuous editing, leaving the efficiency of editing at the wild type site essentially unaffected. ApoB RNA constructs and naturally occurring mRNAs such as NAT-1 (novel APOBEC-1 target-1) that lack this downstream element were not promiscuously edited in McArdle or HepG2 cells. These findings underscore the importance of RNA sequences and the cellular context of auxiliary factors in regulating editing site utilization.
Cytidine to uridine editing of apolipoprotein B (apoB) mRNA requires the cytidine deaminase APOBEC-1 as well as a tripartite sequence motif flanking a target cytidine in apoB mRNA and an undefined number of auxiliary proteins that mediate RNA recognition and determine site-specific editing. Yeast engineered to express APOBEC-1 and apoB mRNA supported editing under conditions of late log phase growth and stationary phase. The cis-acting sequence requirements and the intracellular distribution of APOBEC-1 in yeast were similar to those described in mammalian cells. These findings suggest that auxiliary protein functions necessary for the assembly of editing complexes, or ‘editosomes’, are expressed in yeast and that the distribution of editing activity is to the cell nucleus.
RNA editing in higher plant plastids changes single cytidine residues to uridine through an unknown mechanism. In order to investigate the relation of editing to physiological processes and to other steps in plastid gene expression, we have tested the sensitivity of chloroplast RNA editing to heat shock and antibiotics. We show that heat shock conditions as well as treatment of plants with prokaryotic translational inhibitors can inhibit plastid RNA editing. Surprisingly, this inhibitory effect is confined to a limited number of plastid editing sites suggesting that some site-specific factor(s) but none of the general components of the plastid RNA editing machinery are compromised. Contrary to previous expectations, our results provide evidence for a role of plastid translation in RNA editing.
RNA editing is the process whereby an RNA sequence is modified from the sequence of the corresponding DNA template. In the mitochondria of land plants, some cytidines are converted to uridines before translation. Despite substantial study, the molecular biological mechanism by which C-to-U RNA editing proceeds remains relatively obscure, although several experimental studies have implicated a role for cis-recognition. A highly non-random distribution of nucleotides is observed in the immediate vicinity of edited sites (within 20 nucleotides 5' and 3'), but no precise consensus motif has been identified.
Data for analysis were derived from the the complete mitochondrial genomes of Arabidopsis thaliana, Brassica napus, and Oryza sativa; additionally, a combined data set of observations across all three genomes was generated. We selected datasets based on the 20 nucleotides 5' and the 20 nucleotides 3' of edited sites and an equivalently sized and appropriately constructed null-set of non-edited sites. We used tree-based statistical methods and random forests to generate models of C-to-U RNA editing based on the nucleotides surrounding the edited/non-edited sites and on the estimated folding energies of those regions. Tree-based statistical methods based on primary sequence data surrounding edited/non-edited sites and estimates of free energy of folding yield models with optimistic re-substitution-based estimates of ~0.71 accuracy, ~0.64 sensitivity, and ~0.88 specificity. Random forest analysis yielded better models and more exact performance estimates with ~0.74 accuracy, ~0.72 sensitivity, and ~0.81 specificity for the combined observations.
Simple models do moderately well in predicting which cytidines will be edited to uridines, and provide the first quantitative predictive models for RNA edited sites in plant mitochondria. Our analysis shows that the identity of the nucleotide -1 to the edited C and the estimated free energy of folding for a 41 nt region surrounding the edited C are the most important variables that distinguish most edited from non-edited sites. However, the results suggest that primary sequence data and simple free energy of folding calculations alone are insufficient to make highly accurate predictions.
The rps12 gene transcripts encoding mitochondrial ribosomal protein S12 are partially edited in petunia mitochondria. Different petunia lines were found vary in the extent of rps12 transcript editing. To test whether multiple forms of RPS12 proteins are produced in petunia mitochondria as a result of partial editing, we probed mitochondrial proteins with specific antibodies against edited and unedited forms of a 13-amino-acid RPS12 peptide spanning two amino acids affected by RNA editing. Both antibodies reacted with mitochondrial proteins at the expected size for RPS12 proteins. The amounts of unedited RPS12 protein in different petunia lines correlate with the abundance of unedited transcripts in these plants. Unedited rps12 translation products are also detected in other plant species, indicating that polymorphism in mitochondrial rps12 expression is widespread. Moreover, we show that RPS12 proteins recognized by both edited-specific and unedited-specific antibodies are present in a petunia mitochondrial ribosome fraction. These results demonstrate that partially edited transcripts can be translated and that the protein product can accumulate to detectable levels. Therefore, genes exhibiting incompletely edited transcripts can encode more than one gene product in plant mitochondria.
In plant organelles, specific messenger RNAs (mRNAs) are subjected to conversion editing, a process that often converts the first or second nucleotide of a codon and hence the encoded amino acid. No systematic patterns in converted sites were found on mRNAs, and the converted sites rarely encoded residues located at the active sites of proteins. The role and origin of RNA editing in plant organelles remain to be elucidated.
Here we study the relationship between amino acid residues encoded by edited codons and the structural characteristics of these residues within proteins, e.g., in protein-protein interfaces, elements of secondary structure, or protein structural cores. We find that the residues encoded by edited codons are significantly biased toward involvement in helices and protein structural cores. RNA editing can convert codons for hydrophilic to hydrophobic amino acids. Hence, only the edited form of an mRNA can be translated into a polypeptide with helix-preferring and core-forming residues at the appropriate positions, which is often required for a protein to form a functional three-dimensional (3D) structure.
We have performed a novel analysis of the location of residues affected by RNA editing in proteins in plant organelles. This study documents that RNA editing sites are often found in positions important for 3D structure formation. Without RNA editing, protein folding will not occur properly, thus affecting gene expression. We suggest that RNA editing may have conferring evolutionary advantage by acting as a mechanism to reduce susceptibility to DNA damage by allowing the increase in GC content in DNA while maintaining RNA codons essential to encode residues required for protein folding and activity.
The C-to-U editing of apolipoprotein B (apo-B) mRNA is catalyzed by a multiprotein complex that recognizes an 11-nucleotide mooring sequence downstream of the editing site. The catalytic subunit of the editing enzyme, apobec-1, has cytidine deaminase activity but requires additional unidentified proteins to edit apo-B mRNA. We purified a 65-kDa protein that functionally complements apobec-1 and obtained peptide sequence information which was used in molecular cloning experiments. The apobec-1 complementation factor (ACF) cDNA encodes a novel 64.3-kDa protein that contains three nonidentical RNA recognition motifs. ACF and apobec-1 comprise the minimal protein requirements for apo-B mRNA editing in vitro. By UV cross-linking and immunoprecipitation, we show that ACF binds to apo-B mRNA in vitro and in vivo. Cross-linking of ACF is not competed by RNAs with mutations in the mooring sequence. Coimmunoprecipitation experiments identified an ACF-apobec-1 complex in transfected cells. Immunodepletion of ACF from rat liver extracts abolished editing activity. The immunoprecipitated complexes contained a functional holoenzyme. Our results support a model of the editing enzyme in which ACF binds to the mooring sequence in apo-B mRNA and docks apobec-1 to deaminate its target cytidine. The fact that ACF is widely expressed in human tissues that lack apobec-1 and apo-B mRNA suggests that ACF may be involved in other RNA editing or RNA processing events.