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RNA Biol. 2008 Apr-Jun;5(2):84-91. Epub 2008 Apr 3.

Identification of novel guide RNAs from the mitochondria of Trypanosoma brucei.

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Innsbruck Biocenter, Division of Genomics and RNomics, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.


The majority of mitochondrial mRNAs in African trypanosomes are subject to an RNA editing reaction, which is characterized by the insertion and/or deletion of U nucleotides only. The reaction creates functional mRNAs and is catalyzed by a high molecular mass enzyme complex, the editosome. Editosomes interact with a unique class of small non-coding, 3'-oligouridylated (oU) RNAs, so-called guide RNAs (gRNAs). Guide RNAs function as transacting templates in the U deletion/insertion reaction and thus, represent key components in the reaction cycle. Furthermore, by utilizing different gRNAs, alternative editing events can take place, thereby expanding the protein diversity in the mitochondria of the parasites. In this study, we have analyzed small, non-coding mitochondrial transcripts from Trypanosoma brucei. By generating cDNA libraries from size-selected RNA populations we identified 51 novel oU-RNAs. For 29 of these RNAs we were able to predict cognate mRNA targets. By Northern blot analysis, we verified the expression of 22 of these oU-RNAs and demonstrate that they share all known gRNA characteristics. Five of these 51 putative gRNAs are characterized by single mismatches to their cognate, fully edited mRNA sequences suggesting that they could act as gRNAs for alternative editing events.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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