Substrate determinants for RNA editing and editing complex interactions at a site for full-round U insertion. Academic Article uri icon


  • Multisubunit RNA editing complexes catalyze uridylate insertion/deletion RNA editing directed by complementary guide RNAs (gRNAs). Editing in trypanosome mitochondria is transcript-specific and developmentally controlled, but the molecular mechanisms of substrate specificity remain unknown. Here we used a minimal A6 pre-mRNA/gRNA substrate to define functional determinants for full-round insertion and editing complex interactions at the editing site 2 (ES2). Editing begins with pre-mRNA cleavage within an internal loop flanked by upstream and downstream duplexes with gRNA. We found that substrate recognition around the internal loop is sequence-independent and that completely artificial duplexes spanning a single helical turn are functional. Furthermore, after our report of cross-linking interactions at the deletion ES1 (35), we show for the first time editing complex contacts at an insertion ES. Our studies using site-specific ribose 2' substitutions defined 2'-hydroxyls within the (a) gRNA loop region and (b) flanking helixes that markedly stimulate both pre-mRNA cleavage and editing complex interactions at ES2. Modification of the downstream helix affected scissile bond specificity. Notably, a single 2'-hydroxyl at ES2 is essential for cleavage but dispensable for editing complex cross-linking. This study provides new insights on substrate recognition during full-round editing, including the relevance of secondary structure and the first functional association of specific (pre-mRNA and gRNA) riboses with both endonuclease cleavage and cross-linking activities of editing complexes at an ES. Importantly, most observed cross-linking interactions are both conserved and relatively stable at ES2 and ES1 in hybrid substrates. However, they were also detected as transient low-stability contacts in a non-edited transcript.

published proceedings

  • J Biol Chem

author list (cited authors)

  • Cifuentes-Rojas, C., Pavia, P., Hernandez, A., Osterwisch, D., Puerta, C., & Cruz-Reyes, J.

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

  • Cifuentes-Rojas, Catherine||Pavia, Paula||Hernandez, Alfredo||Osterwisch, Daniel||Puerta, Concepcion||Cruz-Reyes, Jorge

publication date

  • February 2007