The KREPA3 zinc finger motifs and OB-fold domain are essential for RNA editing and survival of trypanosoma brucei

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Three types of editosomes, each with an identical core containing six related KREPA proteins, catalyze the U insertion and deletion RNA editing of mitochondrial mRNAs in trypanosomes. Repression of expression of one of these, KREPA3 (also known as TbMP42), shows that it is essential for growth and in vivo editing in both procyclic (PF) and bloodstream (BF) life cycle stages of Trypanosoma brucei. RNA interference knockdown results in editosome disruption and altered in vitro editing in PFs, while repression by regulatable double knockout results in almost complete loss of editosomes in BFs. Mutational analysis shows that the KREPA3 zinc fingers and OB-fold domain are each essential for growth and in vivo editing. Nevertheless, KREPA3 with mutated zinc fingers incorporates into editosomes that catalyze in vitro editing and thus is not essential for editosome integrity, although stability is affected. In contrast, the OB-fold domain is essential for editosome integrity. Overall, KREPA3, especially its OB-fold, functions in editosome integrity, and its zinc fingers are essential for editing in vivo but not for the central catalytic steps. KREPA3 may function in editosome organization and/or RNA positioning.

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