Editing site recognition and nucleotide insertion are separable processes in Physarum mitochondria

Center for RNA Molecular Biology, Case Western Reserve University, 2109 Adelbert Road, School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.
The EMBO Journal (Impact Factor: 10.43). 12/2002; 21(22):6154-61. DOI: 10.1093/emboj/cdf610
Source: PubMed


Insertional RNA editing in Physarum polycephalum is a complex process involving the specific addition of non-templated nucleotides to nascent mitochondrial transcripts. Since all four ribonucleotides are substrates for the editing activity(s), both the site of insertion and the identity of the nucleotide to be added at a particular position must be specified, but the signals for these events have yet to be elucidated. Here we report the occurrence of sporadic errors in RNAs synthesized in vitro. These mistakes, which include omission of encoded nucleotides as well as misinsertions, occur only on templates that support editing. The pattern of these misediting events indicates that editing site recognition and nucleotide addition are separable events, and that the recognition step involves features of the mitochondrial template that are required for editing. The larger deletions lack all templated nucleotides between editing sites, suggesting that the transcription/editing apparatus can "jump" from one insertion site to another, perhaps mediated by interactions with editing determinants, while smaller omissions most likely reflect misalignment of the transcript upon resumption of templated RNA synthesis.

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Available from: Jonatha M Gott, Feb 24, 2015
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    • "It remains to be determined whether these nucleotide deletions occur co-transcriptionally, as observed for the nucleotide insertions (20), or post-transcriptionally, as is the case for C to U changes (21). Although all forms of editing in Physarum mitochondria are virtually 100% efficient in vivo (21), RNAs made in vitro contain a mixture of unedited, edited and mis-edited sites (22). Interestingly, one form of misediting that is observed during run-on transcription in partially purified mitochondrial transcription elongation complexes is the deletion of three encoded nucleotides immediately downstream of an insertion site. "
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    ABSTRACT: Gene finding is complicated in organisms that exhibit insertional RNA editing. Here, we demonstrate how our new algorithm Predictor of Insertional Editing (PIE) can be used to locate genes whose mRNAs are subjected to multiple frameshifting events, and extend the algorithm to include probabilistic predictions for sites of nucleotide insertion; this feature is particularly useful when designing primers for sequencing edited RNAs. Applying this algorithm, we successfully identified the nad2, nad4L, nad6 and atp8 genes within the mitochondrial genome of Physarum polycephalum, which had gone undetected by existing programs. Characterization of their mRNA products led to the unanticipated discovery of nucleotide deletion editing in Physarum. The deletion event, which results in the removal of three adjacent A residues, was confirmed by primer extension sequencing of total RNA. This finding is remarkable in that it comprises the first known instance of nucleotide deletion in this organelle, to be contrasted with nearly 500 sites of single and dinucleotide addition in characterized mitochondrial RNAs. Statistical analysis of this larger pool of editing sites indicates that there are significant biases in the 2 nt immediately upstream of editing sites, including a reduced incidence of nucleotide repeats, in addition to the previously identified purine-U bias.
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    ABSTRACT: Over the past several decades, our knowledge of the origin and evolution of mitochondria has been greatly advanced by determination of complete mitochondrial genome sequences. Among the most informative mitochondrial genomes have been those of protists (primarily unicellular eukaryotes), some of which harbor the most gene-rich and most eubacteria-like mitochondrial DNAs (mtDNAs) known. Comparison of mtDNA sequence data has provided insights into the radically diverse trends in mitochondrial genome evolution exhibited by different phylogenetically coherent groupings of eukaryotes, and has allowed us to pinpoint specific protist relatives of the multicellular eukaryotic lineages (animals, plants, and fungi). This comparative genomics approach has also revealed unique and fascinating aspects of mitochondrial gene expression, highlighting the mitochondrion as an evolutionary playground par excellence.
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