Publication – Göringer

The RNA chaperone activity of the Trypanosoma brucei editosome raises the dynamic of bound pre-mRNAs.

Leeder WM, Voigt C, Brecht M, Göringer HU. Sci Rep. 2016 Jan 19. Abstract or full publication here.

Mitochondrial transcript maturation in African trypanosomes requires an RNA editing reaction that is characterized by the insertion and deletion of U-nucleotides into otherwise non-functional mRNAs. The reaction is catalyzed by editosomes and requires guide (g)RNAs as templates. Recent data demonstrate that the binding of pre-edited mRNAs to editosomes is followed by a chaperone-type RNA remodeling reaction. Here we map the changes in RNA folding using selective 2′-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension (SHAPE). We demonstrate that pre-mRNAs in their free state adopt intricately folded, highly stable 2D-structures. Editosome binding renders the pre-mRNAs to adopt 2D-conformations of reduced stabilities. On average about 30% of the nucleotides in every pre-mRNA are affected with a prevalence for U-nucleotides. The data demonstrate that the chaperone activity acts by increasing the flexibility of U-residues to lower their base-pairing probability. This results in a simplified RNA folding landscape with a reduced energy barrier to facilitate the binding of gRNAs. The data provide a first rational for the enigmatic U-specificity of the editing reaction.