A functionally critical position (Q/R site) of the AMPA receptor subunit GluR-B is controlled by RNA editing that operates in the nucleus, since in brain and clonal cell lines of neural origin, unspliced GluR-B transcripts occur edited in the Q/R site CAG codon and, additionally, in intronic adenosines. Transfection of GluR-B gene constructs into PC12 cells revealed that the proximal part of the intron downstream of the unedited exonic site is required for Q/R site editing. This intron portion contains an imperfect inverted repeat preceding a 10 nt sequence with exact complementarity to the exon centered on the unedited codon. Single nucleotide substitutions in this short intronic sequence or its exonic complement curtailed Q/R site editing, which was recovered by restoring complementarity in the respective partner strand. Base conversion in the channel-coding region of GluR-B directed by base paired sequences may be executed by a ubiquitous nuclear adenosine deaminase specific for double-stranded RNA.