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Nucleic Acids Res. 1998 Aug 15;26(16):3634-9.

Trypanosoma brucei U insertion and U deletion activities co-purify with an enzymatic editing complex but are differentially optimized.

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Department of Biological Chemistry, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 725 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


RNA editing, the processing that generates functional mRNAs in trypanosome mitochondria, involves cycles of protein catalyzed reactions that specifically insert or delete U residues. We recently reported purification from Trypanosoma brucei mitochondria of a complex showing seven major polypeptides which exhibits the enzymatic activities inferred in editing and that a pool of fractions of the complex catalyzed U deletion, the minor form of RNA editing in vivo . We now show that U insertion activity, the major form of RNA editing in vivo , chromatographically co-purifies with both U deletion activity and the protein complex. Furthermore, these editing activities co-sediment at approximately 20 S. U insertion does not require a larger, less characterized complex, as has been suggested and could have implied that the editing machinery would not function in a processive manner. We also show that U insertion is optimized at rather different and more exacting reaction conditions than U deletion. By markedly reducing ATP and carrier RNA and increasing UTP and carrier protein relative to standard editing conditions, U insertion activity of the purified fraction is enhanced approximately 100-fold.

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