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RNA. 2003 Jul;9(7):839-46.

Biochemical analysis and scanning force microscopy reveal productive and nonproductive ADAR2 binding to RNA substrates.

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Department of Genetics, University of Kassel, 34132 Kassel, Germany.


Scanning force microscopy (SFM) can be used to image biomolecules at high resolution. Here we demonstrate that single-molecule analysis by SFM complements biochemical data on RNA protein binding and can provide information that cannot be obtained by the usual biochemical methods. We have used this method to study the interaction between the RNA editing enzyme ADAR2 and RNA transcripts containing selective and nonselective editing sites. The natural selectively edited R/G site from glutamate receptor subunit B (GluR-B) was inserted into an RNA backbone molecule consisting of a completely double-stranded (ds) central part and incompletely paired ends derived from potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd). This molecule was efficiently edited at the R/G site, but promiscuous editing occurred at nonselective sites in the completely double-stranded region. The construct was also used to analyze binding of ADAR2 to wild-type and modified R/G editing sites in relation to binding at other nonselectively edited sites. Editing analysis together with SFM allow us to differentiate between binding and enzymatic activity. ADAR2 has been reported to have a general affinity to dsRNA. However, we show that there is a prominent bias for stable binding at sites selectively edited over other edited sites. On the other hand, promiscuous editing at nonselective sites apparently results from transient binding of the enzyme to the substrate. Furthermore, we find distinct sites with nonproductive binding of the enzyme.

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