Substrate determinants for RNA editing and editing complex interactions at a site for full-round U insertion

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4265-4276
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - 16 Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes


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