RNA editing in transcripts of the mitochondrial genes of the insect trypanosome Crithidia fasciculata

H. van der Spek, D. Speijer, G. J. Arts, J. van den Burg, H. van Steeg, P. Sloof, R. Benne

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With the aid of cDNA and RNA sequence analysis, we have determined to what extent transcripts of mitochondrial maxicircle genes of the insect trypanosome Crithidia fasciculata are altered by RNA editing, a novel mechanism of gene expression which operates via the insertion and deletion of uridine residues. Editing of cytochrome c oxidase (cox) subunit II and III transcripts and of maxicircle unidentified reading frame (MURF) 2 RNA is limited to a small section and results in the creation of a potential AUG translational initiation codon (coxIII, MURF2) or the removal of a frameshift (coxII). No differences with the genomic sequences were observed in the remainder of these RNAs. Surprisingly, NADH dehydrogenase subunit I transcripts were completely unedited in the coding region, implying that an AUG translational initiation codon is absent. The partial ribosomal RNA sequences determined also conform to the gene sequences. Together these results lead to the conclusion that the unusual sequences predicted by the protein and rRNA genes must indeed be present in the gene products. Editing also occurred in the poly(A) tail of RNAs from all protein genes, including those that are unedited in the coding region. The tails display a large variation in AU sequence motifs. Finally, some cDNAs contained sequences absent from both the DNA and the edited RNA. Some of these may represent intermediates in the RNA editing process. We argue, however, that long runs of T may be artefacts of cDNA synthesis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-262
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1990

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