A Comparative Analysis to Study Editing of Small Noncoding BC200- and Alu Transcripts in Brain of Prion-Inoculated Rhesus Monkeys ( M. Mulatta )
Small retroelements (short interspersed elements, abbreviated SINEs) are abundant in vertebrate genomes. Using RNA isolated from rhesus monkey cerebellum and buffy coat, reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT PCR) was applied to clone cDNA of BC200 and Alu RNAs. Transcripts containing Alu-SINE sequences may be subjected to extensive RNA editing by ADAR (adenosine deaminases that act on RNA) deamination. Abundance of Alu transcripts was determined with real-time RT PCR and was significantly higher than BC200 (brain cytoplasmic) in cerebellum. BC200 transcripts were absent from buffy coat cells. Availability of the rhesus genome sequence allowed the BC200 transcripts to be mapped to the specific locus on chromosome 13. Both the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of BC 200 expression argue for the BC 200 transcripts being generated by RNA polymerase III. In cerebellum, Alu transcripts often possessed base exchanges (A to G) consistent with ADAR editing and, somewhat unexpectedly, C to T exchanges consistent with APOBEC (apolipoprotein B editing complex) editing. In contrast, the BC200 transcripts, which as RNA POLIII transcripts play a role in dendritic RNA translation, appeared not to be deaminated, despite the presence of editing of Alu in the same tissue. To assess whether neuronal disease might influence editing of BC200 and Alu-SINE transcripts in cerebellum, RNA was isolated from two rhesus monkeys that were inoculated with prions from human variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). Regardless of prion-induced neurodegeneration, no BC200 RNA editing was observed, while Alu RNA continued to show both ADAR and APOBEC editing. Thus, BC200 RNAs do not appear to become accessible to editing enzymes despite infected neurons being subjected to severe stress, damage, and eventually cell death.
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