Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 68, Issue 4, pp 567–586 | Cite as

When you can’t trust the DNA: RNA editing changes transcript sequences

  • Volker KnoopEmail author


RNA editing describes targeted sequence alterations in RNAs so that the transcript sequences differ from their DNA template. Since the original discovery of RNA editing in trypanosomes nearly 25 years ago more than a dozen such processes of nucleotide insertions, deletions, and exchanges have been identified in evolutionarily widely separated groups of the living world including plants, animals, fungi, protists, bacteria, and viruses. In many cases gene expression in mitochondria is affected, but RNA editing also takes place in chloroplasts and in nucleocytosolic genetic environments. While some RNA editing systems largely seem to repair defect genes (cryptogenes), others have obvious functions in modulating gene activities. The present review aims for an overview on the current states of research in the different systems of RNA editing by following a historic timeline along the respective original discoveries.


RNA maturation Base deamination Editosomes PPR proteins Cryptogenes Pan-editing 



I apologize that, owing to space constraints, numerous other important publications elucidating the many facets of RNA editing in all the disparate genetic environments could not be cited. I am grateful for financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and to Julia Hecht, Teresa Knoop, Mareike Rüdinger, and Felix Grewe for comments prior to initial submission. I wish to thank two anonymous reviewers for several very valuable comments to improve the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Abteilung Molekulare EvolutionInstitut für Zelluläre und Molekulare Botanik (IZMB)BonnGermany

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