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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Editing of Cellular Self-RNAs by Adenosine Deaminase ADAR1 Suppresses Innate Immune Stress Responses

  • Author(s): George, CX
  • Ramaswami, G
  • Li, JB
  • Samuel, CE
  • et al.

Adenosine deaminases acting on double-stranded RNA (ADARs) catalyze the deamination of adenosine (A) to produce inosine (I) in double-stranded (ds) RNA structures, a process known as A-to-I RNA editing. dsRNA is an important trigger of innate immune responses, including interferon (IFN) production and action. We examined the role of A-to-I RNA editing by two ADARs, ADAR1 and ADAR2, in the sensing of self-RNA in the absence of pathogen infection, leading to activation of IFN-induced, RNA-mediated responses in mouse embryo fibroblasts. IFN treatment of Adar1(-/-) cells lacking both the p110 constitutive and p150 IFN-inducible ADAR1 proteins induced formation of stress granules, whereas neither wild-type (WT) nor Adar2(-/-) cells displayed a comparable stress granule response following IFN treatment. Phosphorylation of protein synthesis initiation factor eIF2α at serine 51 was increased in IFN-treated Adar1(-/-) cells but not in either WT or Adar2(-/-) cells following IFN treatment. Analysis by deep sequencing of mouse exonic loci containing A-to-I-editing sites revealed that the majority of editing in mouse embryo fibroblasts was carried out by ADAR1. IFN treatment increased editing in both WT and Adar2(-/-) cells but not in either Adar1(-/-) or Adar1(-/-) (p150) cells or Stat1(-/-) or Stat2(-/-) cells. Hyper-edited sites found in predicted duplex structures showed strand bias of editing for some RNAs. These results implicate ADAR1 p150 as the major A-to-I editor in mouse embryo fibroblasts, acting as a feedback suppressor of innate immune responses otherwise triggered by self-RNAs possessing regions of double-stranded character.

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