RNA Editing

Squid are hyper-editors when it comes to RNA

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Science  27 Feb 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6225, pp. 961
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6225.961-c

The nervous system of squid contains an unusually high amount of edited RNA

PHOTO: © JEFF ROTMAN/ALAMY

During RNA editing, specific enzymes alter nucleotides in mRNA transcripts so that the resulting protein differs in amino acid sequence from what was encoded by the original DNA. Such RNA editing is a means to generate greater protein diversity; however, most organisms only use it sparingly. Alon et al., however, now report an exception. They sequenced RNA and DNA from the squid nervous system and discovered that 60% of the transcripts exhibited RNA editing. Such “recoding” occurred largely in genes with cytoskeletal or neuronal functions and may be advantageous to organisms such as squid that must respond quickly and continually to environmental changes.

eLife 4, e05198 (2015).

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