What Is RNA Editing

The term RNA editing was first used in the late 1980s to describe an unusual process in which multiple Us are inserted and deleted in trypanosome mitochondrial mRNAs (Benne et al. 1986). The usage of the term was subsequently expanded as it was applied to other, less drastic, examples of nu-cleotide changes in RNAs, including deamination of C to U in apoB100 mRNA in small intestine (Scott 1989), deamination of glutamate receptor subunit B (gluRB) pre-mRNA in brain (Higuchi et al. 1993), and insertion of nontem-plated Gs in the P gene of paramyxoviruses (Curran and Kolakofsky 1990). Thus, broadly defined, the term RNA editing describes processes other than splicing that result in the modification of an RNA sequence from that of its template. While collectively referred to as RNA editing, these sequence revisions involve a wide range of mechanisms. In the two types of editing used by mammalian cells, C to U and A to I, the modified base within the RNA molecule is deaminated; there is no evidence that the phosphate backbone is broken during the editing process.

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