Open Access Research article

Consistent levels of A-to-I RNA editing across individuals in coding sequences and non-conserved Alu repeats

Shoshana Greenberger12, Erez Y Levanon3, Nurit Paz-Yaacov4, Aviv Barzilai2, Michal Safran4, Sivan Osenberg4, Ninette Amariglio4, Gideon Rechavi4 and Eli Eisenberg5*

Author Affiliations

1 Vascular Biology Program and Department of Surgery, Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA

2 Department of Dermatology, Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, Israel

3 The Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan 52900, Israel

4 Cancer Research Center, Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Ha'Shomer, and Tel-Aviv University, Israel

5 Raymond and Beverly Sackler School of Physics and Astronomy, Tel-Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel

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BMC Genomics 2010, 11:608  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-608

Published: 28 October 2010

Abstract

Background

Adenosine to inosine (A-to-I) RNA-editing is an essential post-transcriptional mechanism that occurs in numerous sites in the human transcriptome, mainly within Alu repeats. It has been shown to have consistent levels of editing across individuals in a few targets in the human brain and altered in several human pathologies. However, the variability across human individuals of editing levels in other tissues has not been studied so far.

Results

Here, we analyzed 32 skin samples, looking at A-to-I editing level in three genes within coding sequences and in the Alu repeats of six different genes. We observed highly consistent editing levels across different individuals as well as across tissues, not only in coding targets but, surprisingly, also in the non evolutionary conserved Alu repeats.

Conclusions

Our findings suggest that A-to-I RNA-editing of Alu elements is a tightly regulated process and, as such, might have been recruited in the course of primate evolution for post-transcriptional regulatory mechanisms.