RNA Editing: A Contributor to Neuronal Dynamics in the Mammalian Brain

Trends Genet. 2016 Mar;32(3):165-175. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2015.12.005. Epub 2016 Jan 20.


Post-transcriptional RNA modification by adenosine to inosine (A-to-I) editing expands the functional output of many important neuronally expressed genes. The mechanism provides flexibility in the proteome by expanding the variety of isoforms, and is a requisite for neuronal function. Indeed, targets for editing include key mediators of synaptic transmission with an overall significant effect on neuronal signaling. In addition, editing influences splice-site choice and miRNA targeting capacity, and thereby regulates neuronal gene expression. Editing efficiency at most of these sites increases during neuronal differentiation and brain maturation in a spatiotemporal manner. This editing-induced dynamics in the transcriptome is essential for normal brain development, and we are only beginning to understand its role in neuronal function. In this review we discuss the impact of RNA editing in the brain, with special emphasis on the physiological consequences for neuronal development and plasticity.

Keywords: ADAR; RNA editing; neurotransmission.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology*
  • Mammals
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • RNA Editing*
  • RNA Splicing
  • Transcription, Genetic