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EMBO J. 1996 Dec 2;15(23):6758-65.

Guide RNA-directed uridine insertion RNA editing in vitro.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, UCLA School of Medicine, 90095-1662, USA.


Guide RNAs (gRNAs) have been proposed to mediate uridine (U) addition/deletion editing of mitochondrial mRNAs in kinetoplastid protozoa. The Us are proposed to be derived either from UTP by two successive cleavage-ligations or transesterifications, or from the 3' end of the gRNA by the same mechanisms. We have demonstrated gRNA-dependent U insertions into a specific editing site of a pre-edited mRNA which was incubated in a mitochondrial extract from Leishmania tarentolae. The predominant number of U insertions was determined by the number of guiding nucleotides in the added gRNA, and the formation of a gRNA-mRNA anchor duplex was necessary for activity. UTP and alpha-beta bond hydrolysis of ATP were required, and the activity was inhibited above 50-100 mM KCl. A gRNA-independent insertion of up to approximately 13 Us occurred in the absence of the added cognate gRNA; the extent of this activity was affected by sequences upstream and downstream of the edited region. Heparin inhibited the gRNA-independent U insertion activity and had no effect on the gRNA-dependent activity. Blocking the 3' OH of the gRNA had little effect on the gRNA-dependent U insertion activity. The data are consistent with a cleavage-ligation model in which the Us are derived directly from UTP.

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