The impact of mRNA structure on guide RNA targeting in kinetoplastid RNA editing. Academic Article uri icon


  • Mitochondrial mRNA editing in Trypanosoma brucei requires the specific interaction of a guide RNA with its cognate mRNA. Hundreds of gRNAs are involved in the editing process, each needing to target their specific editing domain within the target message. We hypothesized that the structure surrounding the mRNA target may be a limiting factor and involved in the regulation process. In this study, we selected four mRNAs with distinct target structures and investigated how sequence and structure affected efficient gRNA targeting. Two of the mRNAs, including the ATPase subunit 6 and ND7-550 (5' end of NADH dehydrogenase subunit 7) that have open, accessible anchor binding sites show very efficient gRNA targeting. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays indicate that the cognate gRNA for ND7-550 had 10-fold higher affinity for its mRNA than the A6 pair. Surface plasmon resonance studies indicate that the difference in affinity was due to a four-fold faster association rate. As expected, mRNAs with considerable structure surrounding the anchor binding sites were less accessible and had very low affinity for their cognate gRNAs. In vitro editing assays indicate that efficient pairing is crucial for gRNA directed cleavage. However, only the A6 substrate showed gRNA-directed cleavage at the correct editing site. This suggests that different gRNA/mRNA pairs may require different "sets" of accessory factors for efficient editing. By characterizing a number of different gRNA/mRNA interactions, we may be able to define a "bank" of RNA editing substrates with different putative chaperone and other co-factor requirements. This will allow the more efficient identification and characterization of transcript specific RNA editing accessory proteins.

published proceedings

  • PLoS One

author list (cited authors)

  • Reifur, L., Yu, L. E., Cruz-Reyes, J., Vanhartesvelt, M., & Koslowsky, D. J.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Reifur, Larissa||Yu, Laura E||Cruz-Reyes, Jorge||Vanhartesvelt, Michelle||Koslowsky, Donna J

editor list (cited editors)

  • Maas, S.

publication date

  • August 2010