ADARs are a family of enzymes, present in all animals, that convert adenosine to inosine within double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). Inosine and adenosine have different base-pairing properties, and thus, editing alters RNA structure, coding potential and splicing patterns. The first ADAR substrates identified were edited in codons, and ADARs were presumed to function primarily in proteome diversification. Although this is an important function of ADARs, especially in the nervous system, editing in coding sequences is rare compared to editing in noncoding sequences. Introns and untranslated regions of mRNA are the primary noncoding targets, but editing also occurs in small RNAs, such as miRNAs. Although the role of editing in noncoding sequences remains unclear, ongoing research suggests functions in the regulation of a variety of post-transcriptional processes.
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