RNA editing packs a punch

RNA editing packs a punch

11th September 2019

Optimal protein synthesis requires bases in transfer RNAs to be modified. A key modification has been shown to involve an unusual two-step mechanism that entails the sequential activities of two enzymes.

A central dogma of molecular biology is that DNA and the corresponding RNA are complementary. But this complementarity is rewired by a process called RNA editing, which recodes genomic information by modifying, deleting or inserting nucleotides in RNA transcripts. RNA editing has wide-ranging roles in various cellular processes and has clear implications in human disease1. The molecular and biochemical mechanisms underlying RNA editing have proved a challenge to scientists since its discovery 30 years ago in trypanosomes, a type of protozoan2. On page 494, Rubio et al.3 now provide intriguing evidence that editing of transfer RNAs is an unconventional two-step process, thus reasserting a valuable mechanistic concept for the field

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