PerspectiveBiochemistry

A Cold Editor Makes the Adaptation

Science  17 Feb 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6070, pp. 805-806
DOI: 10.1126/science.1219300

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Summary

Although organisms have evolved to live in diverse conditions, closely related species often inhabit vastly different environments. This is particularly true for aquatic animals such as squid and octopus, which are common in tropical waters but are also found at the poles. These cephalopods have highly developed nervous systems, and one challenging question is how temperature-sensitive neuronal synaptic transmission has adapted to function at a near-freezing temperature. On page 848 of this issue, Garrett and Rosenthal (1) show that RNA editing rather than changes in the genome sequence enable potassium (K+) channels in octopus to function at different temperatures.