Trypanosoma brucei RNA Editing Complex: Band II is Structurally Critical and Maintains Band V Ligase, Which is Nonessential

Sean F. O'Hearn, Catherine E. Huang, Mike Hemann, Alevtina Zhelonkina, Barbara Sollner-Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Maturation of Trypanosoma brucei mitochondrial mRNA involves massive posttranscriptional insertion and deletion of uridine residues. This RNA editing utilizes an enzymatic complex with seven major proteins, band I through band VII. We here use RNA interference (RNAi) to examine the band II and band V proteins. Band II is found essential for viability; it is needed to maintain the normal structure of the editing complex and to retain the band V ligase protein. Previously, band III was found essential for certain activities, including maintenance of the editing complex and retention of the band IV ligase protein. Thus, band II and band V form a protein pair with features analogous to the band III/band IV ligase pair. Since band V is specific for U insertion and since band IV is needed for U deletion, their parallel organization suggests that the editing complex has a pseudosymmetry. However, unlike the essential band IV ligase, RNAi to band V has only a morphological but no growth rate effect, suggesting that it is stimulatory but nonessential. Indeed, in vitro analysis of band V RNAi cell extract demonstrates that band IV can seal U insertion when band V is lacking. Thus, band IV ligase is the first activity of the basic editing complex shown able to serve in both forms of editing. Our studies also indicate that the U insertional portion may be less central in the editing complex than the corresponding U deletional portion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7909-7919
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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