Publication details

Adar RNA editing-dependent and -independent effects are required for brain and innate immune functions in Drosophila

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DENG Patricia KHAN Anzer JACOBSON Dionna SAMBRANI Nagraj MCGURK Leeanne LI Xianghua JAYASREE Aswathy HEJÁTKO Jan SHOHAT-OPHIR Galit O'CONNELL Mary Anne LI Jin Billy KEEGAN Liam

Year of publication 2020
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Nature Communications
MU Faculty or unit

Central European Institute of Technology

Keywords Gene expression; Innate immunity; Neuroscience; RNA editing
Description ADAR RNA editing enzymes are high-affinity dsRNA-binding proteins that deaminate adenosines to inosines in pre-mRNA hairpins and also exert editing-independent effects. We generated a Drosophila Adar(E374A) mutant strain encoding a catalytically inactive Adar with CRISPR/Cas9. We demonstrate that Adar adenosine deamination activity is necessary for normal locomotion and prevents age-dependent neurodegeneration. The catalytically inactive protein, when expressed at a higher than physiological level, can rescue neurodegeneration in Adar mutants, suggesting also editing-independent effects. Furthermore, loss of Adar RNA editing activity leads to innate immune induction, indicating that Drosophila Adar, despite being the homolog of mammalian ADAR2, also has functions similar to mammalian ADAR1. The innate immune induction in fly Adar mutants is suppressed by silencing of Dicer-2, which has a RNA helicase domain similar to MDA5 that senses unedited dsRNAs in mammalian Adar1 mutants. Our work demonstrates that the single Adar enzyme in Drosophila unexpectedly has dual functions. Human RNA editing enzymes ADAR1 and ADAR2 are required for innate immune functions and neurological functions, respectively. Here, the authors show that Drosophila Adar has both innate immune and brain functions, despite being the homolog of mammalian ADAR2.
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