By: Mikaela Behm
Date: 9 June 2017, 10.00 AM – 9 June 2017, 1.00 PM
Venue: Vivi Täckholmssalen, (Q-salen), NPQ-huset, Svante Arrhenius väg 20
Title: Regulation of RNA Editing: The impact of inosine on the neuronal transcriptome

Examination board

André Gerber, Dept. of Microbal Sciences, University of Surrey, UK (opponent)
Maja Jagodic, Dept. of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska institute
Anders Virtanen, Dept. of Cell- and Molecular Biology, Uppsala University
Andrea Hinas, Dept. of Cell- and Molecular Biology, Uppsala University
Per O. Ljungdahl, Dept. of molecular biosciences, Wenner-Gren institute, Stockholm University (Chairman of dissertation)


The transcriptome of the mammalian brain is extensively modified by adenosine to inosine (A-to-I) nucleotide conversion by two adenosine deaminases (ADAR1 and ADAR2). As adenosine and inosine have different base pairing properties, A-to-I RNA editing shapes the functional output of both coding and non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) in the brain. The aim of this thesis was to identify editing events in small regulatory ncRNAs (miRNAs) and to determine their temporal and spatial editing status in the developing and adult mouse brain. To do this, we initially analyzed the editing status of miRNAs from different developmental time points of the mouse brain. We detected novel miRNA substrates subjected to A-to-I editing and found a general increase in miRNA editing during brain development, implicating a more stringent control of miRNAs as the brain matures. Most of the edited miRNAs were found to be transcribed as a single long consecutive transcript from a large gene cluster. However, maturation from the primary miRNA (pri-miRNA) transcript into functional forms of miRNAs is regulated individually, and might be influenced by the ADAR proteins in an editing independent manner. We also found that edited miRNAs were highly expressed at the synapse, implicating a role as local regulators of synaptic translation. We further show that the increase in editing during development is explained by a gradual accumulation of the ADAR enzymes in the nucleus. Specifically for ADAR2, we found a developmentally increasing interaction with two factors, importin-α4 and Pin1, that facilitate nuclear localization of the editing enzyme. We have also found that selectively edited stem loops often are flanked by other long stem loop structures that induce editing in cis. This may explain why multiple pri-miRNAs are edited within the same cluster. In conclusion, this thesis has significantly increased the understanding of the dynamics of both editing substrates and enzymes in the developing and mature brain.