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Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2004 Oct;11(10):950-6. Epub 2004 Sep 7.

Control of human potassium channel inactivation by editing of a small mRNA hairpin.

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  • 1Department of Genetics and Developmental Biology, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut 06030, USA.


Genomic recoding by A-->I RNA editing plays an important role in diversifying the proteins involved in electrical excitability. Here, we describe editing of an intronless potassium channel gene. A small region of human K(V)1.1 mRNA sequence directs efficient modification of one adenosine by human adenosine deaminase acting on RNA 2 (hADAR2). Mutational analysis shows that this region adopts a hairpin structure. Electrophysiological characterization reveals that the editing event (I/V) profoundly affects channel inactivation conferred by accessory beta subunits. Drosophila melanogaster Shaker channels, mimicking this editing event through mutation, exhibit a similar effect. In addition, we demonstrate that mRNAs for the paralogous D. melanogaster Shab potassium channel are edited at the same position by fly ADAR-a clear example of convergent evolution driven by adenosine deamination. These results suggest an ancient and key regulatory role for this residue in K(V) channels.

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