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Trypanosoma brucei guide RNA poly(U) tail formation is stabilized by cognate mRNA.

Molecular and Cellular Biology

Base Sequence, Mitochondria, metabolism, Molecular Sequence Data, Poly U, genetics, RNA Editing, RNA Nucleotidyltransferases, RNA Precursors, RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional, RNA, Guide, chemistry, RNA, Messenger, RNA, Protozoan, Ribonucleoproteins, Trypanosoma brucei brucei, Animals

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      Guide RNAs (gRNAs) are small RNAs that provide specificity for uridine addition and deletion during mRNA editing in trypanosomes. Terminal uridylyl transferase (TUTase) adds uridines to pre-mRNAs during RNA editing and adds a poly(U) tail to the 3' end of gRNAs. The poly(U) tail may stabilize the association of gRNAs with cognate mRNA during editing. Both TUTase and gRNAs associate with two ribonucleoprotein complexes, I (19S) and II (35S to 40S). Complex II is believed to be the fully assembled active editing complex, since it contains pre-edited mRNA and enzymes thought necessary for editing. Purification of TUTase from mitochondrial extracts resulted in the identification of two chromatographically distinct TUTase activities. Stable single-uridine addition to different substrate RNAs is performed by the 19S complex, despite the presence of a uridine-specific 3' exonuclease within this complex. Multiple uridines are added to substrate RNAs by a 10S particle that may be an unstable subunit of complex I lacking the uridine-specific 3' exonuclease. Multiple uridines could be stably added onto gRNAs by complex I when the cognate mRNA is present. We propose a model in which the purine-rich region of the cognate mRNA protects the uridine tail from a uridine exonuclease activity that is present within the complex. To test this model, we have mutated the purine-rich region of the pre-mRNA to abolish base-pairing interaction with the poly(U) tail of the gRNA. This RNA fails to protect the uridine tail of the gRNA from exoribonucleolytic trimming and is consistent with a role for the purine-rich region of the mRNA in gRNA maturation.

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