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J Biol Chem. 2011 Jan 21;286(3):2031-40. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.130096. Epub 2010 Oct 28.

Adenosine-to-inosine RNA editing affects trafficking of the gamma-aminobutyric acid type A (GABA(A)) receptor.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Functional Genomics, Stockholm University, SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden.


Recoding by adenosine-to-inosine RNA editing plays an important role in diversifying proteins involved in neurotransmission. We have previously shown that the Gabra-3 transcript, coding for the α3 subunit of the GABA(A) receptor is edited in mouse, causing an isoleucine to methionine (I/M) change. Here we show that this editing event is evolutionarily conserved from human to chicken. Analyzing recombinant GABA(A) receptor subunits expressed in HEK293 cells, our results suggest that editing at the I/M site in α3 has functional consequences on receptor expression. We demonstrate that I/M editing reduces the cell surface and the total number of α3 subunits. The reduction in cell surface levels is independent of the subunit combination as it is observed for α3 in combination with either the β2 or the β3 subunit. Further, an amino acid substitution at the corresponding I/M site in the α1 subunit has a similar effect on cell surface presentation, indicating the importance of this site for receptor trafficking. We show that the I/M editing during brain development is inversely related to the α3 protein abundance. Our results suggest that editing controls trafficking of α3-containing receptors and may therefore facilitate the switch of subunit compositions during development as well as the subcellular distribution of α subunits in the adult brain.

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