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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1997 Jun;86(2):133-41.

The genomic organization of guide RNA genes in kinetoplastid protozoa: several conundrums and their solutions.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California, Los Angeles 90095-1662, USA.


The guide RNA (gRNA) paradigm states that the uridine (U) insertion/deletion type of RNA editing is mediated by short 3' uridylylated gRNAs that are complementary to specific blocks of mature edited sequence. These gRNAs contain the edited sequence information in the form of guiding purine residues that can base pair with the inserted U's and do not base pair with encoded U's that are to be deleted. The minicircle gRNA genes in trypanosomatids are localized at specific sites within the variable region, with the number and the precise localization of genes also being species-specific. The total number of minicircle sequence classes and thereby minicircle-encoded gRNAs varies greatly between species and even between different strains of the same species, with the greatest number being in the trypanosome species. Several conundrums which appeared to raise problems for the gRNA paradigm arose during comparative analysis of minicircle gRNA gene organization. The solution of these conundrums has led to a better understanding of the function and evolution of this RNA modification phenomenon.

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