Complex management: RNA editing in trypanosomes

Trends Biochem Sci. 2005 Feb;30(2):97-105. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2004.12.006.


Most mitochondrial mRNAs in kinetoplastids require editing, that is, the posttranscriptional insertion and deletion of uridine nucleotides that are specified by guide RNAs and catalyzed by multiprotein complexes. Recent studies have identified many of the proteins in these complexes, in addition to some of their functions and interactions. Although much remains unknown, a picture of highly organized complexes is emerging that shows that the complex that catalyzes the central steps of editing is partitioned into distinct insertion and deletion editing subcomplexes. These subcomplexes coordinate hundreds of ordered catalytic steps that function to produce a single mature mRNA. The dynamic processes, which might entail interactions among multiprotein complexes and changes in their composition and conformation, remain to be elucidated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endoribonucleases / metabolism
  • Exoribonucleases / metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism
  • RNA Editing*
  • RNA Helicases / metabolism
  • RNA Ligase (ATP) / metabolism
  • RNA Nucleotidyltransferases / metabolism
  • RNA, Guide / genetics
  • RNA, Guide / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA, Mitochondrial
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Trypanosoma / enzymology
  • Trypanosoma / genetics*
  • Trypanosoma / metabolism


  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • REAP-1 protein, Trypanosoma brucei
  • RNA, Guide
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Mitochondrial
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • gBP21 protein, Trypanosoma brucei
  • gBP25 protein, Trypanosoma brucei
  • mitochondrial messenger RNA
  • RNA Nucleotidyltransferases
  • UTP-RNA uridylyltransferase
  • Endoribonucleases
  • Exoribonucleases
  • RNA Helicases
  • RNA Ligase (ATP)