Dynamic landscape and regulation of RNA editing in mammals

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Abstract

Adenosine-to-inosine (A-to-I) RNA editing is a conserved post-transcriptional mechanism mediated by ADAR enzymes that diversifies the transcriptome by altering selected nucleotides in RNA molecules1. Although many editing sites have recently been discovered2,3,4,5,6,7, the extent to which most sites are edited and how the editing is regulated in different biological contexts are not fully understood8,9,10. Here we report dynamic spatiotemporal patterns and new regulators of RNA editing, discovered through an extensive profiling of A-to-I RNA editing in 8,551 human samples (representing 53 body sites from 552 individuals) from the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) project and in hundreds of other primate and mouse samples. We show that editing levels in non-repetitive coding regions vary more between tissues than editing levels in repetitive regions. Globally, ADAR1 is the primary editor of repetitive sites and ADAR2 is the primary editor of non-repetitive coding sites, whereas the catalytically inactive ADAR3 predominantly acts as an inhibitor of editing. Cross-species analysis of RNA editing in several tissues revealed that species, rather than tissue type, is the primary determinant of editing levels, suggesting strongercis-directed regulation of RNA editing for most sites, although the small set of conserved coding sites is under strongertrans-regulation. In addition, we curated an extensive set of ADAR1 and ADAR2 targets and showed that many editing sites display distinct tissue-specific regulation by the ADAR enzymesin vivo. Further analysis of the GTEx data revealed several potential regulators of editing, such as AIMP2, which reduces editing in muscles by enhancing the degradation of the ADAR proteins. Collectively, our work provides insights into the complexcis- andtrans-regulation of A-to-I editing.

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