Adenosine Deaminases that Act on RNA Edit Non-Coding Regions of mRNAs in Both Human and C. elegans

Daniel P. Morse
Department of Biochemistry/HHMI
50 North Medical Drive
Salt Lake City, Utah 84132
telephone: 801-585-3110
fax: 801-581-5379
prestype: Platform
presenter: Daniel P. Morse

Daniel P. Morse, P. Joe Aruscavage, and Brenda L. Bass

Adenosine deaminases that act on RNA (ADARs) are RNA editing enzymes that convert adenosines to inosines within double stranded regions of RNA. Using a method that detects inosine-containing messenger RNAs, we previously identified a number of ADAR substrates in C. elegans [Morse and Bass (1999) PNAS 96, 6048]. We chose to study C. elegans hoping that it would be a good model system for the function of ADARs in more complex organisms. At the time we began these studies, a few mammalian ADAR substrates had been discovered. In each of these, ADARs produced functionally significant codon changes. Thus, it was surprising that the C. elegans ADAR substrates were edited only in non-coding regions. To determine whether ADAR function in C. elegans is atypical, we initiated a search for human ADAR substrates. Using an improved version of the method we have identified a number of new ADAR substrates from human brain mRNA. As in C. elegans, these substrates are edited exclusively in non-coding regions suggesting that codon changes are the exception rather than the rule. The implications for the biological roles of ADARs will be discussed.

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