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Nature. 1991 Jan 31;349(6308):434-8.

RNA editing by cytidine insertion in mitochondria of Physarum polycephalum.

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Cell and Molecular Biology Program, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson 75083-0688.


A corollary of the central dogma of molecular biology is that genetic information passes from DNA to RNA by the continuous synthesis of RNA on a DNA template. The demonstration of RNA editing (the specific insertion, deletion or substitution of residues in RNA to create an RNA with a sequence different from its own template) raised the possibility that in some cases not all of the genetic information for a trait residues in the DNA template. Two different types of RNA editing have been identified in mitochondria: insertional editing represented by the extensive insertion (and occasional deletion) of uridine residues in mitochondrial RNAs of the kinetoplastid protozoa and the substitutional editing represented by the cytidine to uridine substitutions in some plant mitochondria. These editing types have not been shown to be present in the same organism and may have very different mechanisms. RNA editing of both types has been observed in nonmitochondrial systems but is not as extensive and may involve still different mechanisms. Here we report the discovery of extensive insertional RNA editing in mitochondria from an organism other than a kinetoplastid protozoan. The mitochondrial RNA apparently encoding the alpha subunit of ATP synthetase in the acellular slime mould, Physarum polycephalum, is edited at 54 sites by cytidine insertion.

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