Trypanosoma brucei RNA editing protein TbMP42 (band VI) is crucial for the endonucleolytic cleavages but not the subsequent steps of U-deletion and U-insertion

Julie A. Law, Sean F. O'Hearn, Barbara Sollner-Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Trypanosome mitochondrial mRNAs achieve their coding sequences through RNA editing. This process, catalyzed by ∼20S protein complexes, involves large numbers of uridylate (U) insertions and deletions within mRNA precursors. Here we analyze the role of the essential TbMP42 protein (band VI/KREPA2) by individually examining each step of the U-deletional and U-insertional editing cycles, using reactions in the approximately linear range. We examined control extracts and RNA interference (RNAi) extracts prepared soon after TbMP42 was depleted (when primary effects should be most evident) and three days later (when precedent shows secondary effects can become prominent). This analysis shows TbMP42 is critical for cleavage of editing substrates by both the U-deletional and U-insertional endonucleases. However, on simple substrates that assess cleavage independent of editing features, TbMP42 is similarly required only for the U-deletional endonuclease, indicating TbMP42 affects the two editing endonucleases differently. Supplementing RNAi extract with recombinant TbMP42 partly restores these cleavage activities. Notably, we find that all the other editing steps (the 3′-U-exonuclease [3′-U-exo] and ligation steps of U-deletion and the terminal-U-transferase [TUTase] and ligation steps of U-insertion) remain at control levels upon RNAi induction, and hence are not dependent on TbMP42. This contrasts with an earlier report that TbMP42 is a 3′-U-exo that may act in U-deletion and additionally is critical for the TUTase and/or ligation steps of U-insertion, observations our data suggest reflect indirect effects of TbMP42 depletion. Thus, trypanosomes require TbMP42 for both endonucleolytic cleavage steps of RNA editing, but not for any of the subsequent steps of the editing cycles. Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1187-1200
Number of pages14
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • RNA editing
  • RNA interference
  • TbMP42
  • Trypanosome
  • U-deletion
  • U-insertion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology


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