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J Biol Chem. 2011 Apr 22;286(16):14178-89. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.199646. Epub 2011 Mar 4.

Naphthalene-based RNA editing inhibitor blocks RNA editing activities and editosome assembly in Trypanosoma brucei.

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Department of Biochemistry, McGill University, McIntyre Medical Building, 3655 Promenade Sir William Osler, Montreal, Quebec H3G1Y6, Canada.


RNA editing, catalyzed by the multiprotein editosome complex, is an essential step for the expression of most mitochondrial genes in trypanosomatid pathogens. It has been shown previously that Trypanosoma brucei RNA editing ligase 1 (TbREL1), a core catalytic component of the editosome, is essential in the mammalian life stage of these parasitic pathogens. Because of the availability of its crystal structure and absence from human, the adenylylation domain of TbREL1 has recently become the focus of several studies for designing inhibitors that target its adenylylation pocket. Here, we have studied new and existing inhibitors of TbREL1 to better understand their mechanism of action. We found that these compounds are moderate to weak inhibitors of adenylylation of TbREL1 and in fact enhance adenylylation at higher concentrations of protein. Nevertheless, they can efficiently block deadenylylation of TbREL1 in the editosome and, consequently, result in inhibition of the ligation step of RNA editing. Further experiments directly showed that the studied compounds inhibit the interaction of the editosome with substrate RNA. This was supported by the observation that not only the ligation activity of TbREL1 but also the activities of other editosome proteins such as endoribonuclease, terminal RNA uridylyltransferase, and uridylate-specific exoribonuclease, all of which require the interaction of the editosome with the substrate RNA, are efficiently inhibited by these compounds. In addition, we found that these compounds can interfere with the integrity and/or assembly of the editosome complex, opening the exciting possibility of using them to study the mechanism of assembly of the editosome components.

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