Extent of RNA editing of glutamate receptor subunit GluR5 in different brain regions of the rat.
1. The structure and function of glutamate receptor subunits GluR2, GluR5, and GluR6 are changed by RNA editing. This reaction produces a base transition in the second transmembrane spanning region. The triplet CAG (coding for glutamine) is changed to CGG (coding for arginine). This transition has a pronounced effect on calcium fluxes through the respective ion channels, because calcium currents decrease with the rate of editing. 2. In the present study the extent of RNA editing of the glutamate receptor subunit GluR5 was studied in different brain regions of control rats using a newly developed analysis system. This system is based on restriction analysis of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) product, derived from reverse-transcribed mRNA as template, with the enzyme Bbv1. Bbv1 recognizes the sequence of the nonedited receptor subunit around the edited base (sequence GCAGC) but not that of the edited subunit (sequence GCGGC; A edited to G). 3. Total RNA was isolated from the cerebral cortex, striatum, hippocampus, thalamus, hypothalamus, cerebellum, pons/medulla oblongata, and white matter and reverse transcribed into cDNA. The region across the edited sequence was amplified by PCR using GluR5-specific primers and the cDNA as template. PCR products were cleaned by ethanol precipitation, incubated with Bbv1, and electrophoresed on an agarose gel together with standards. Gels were photographed and the extent of GluR5 mRNA editing was quantified using an image analysis system. A calibration curve was obtained using PCR products amplified from plasmids with edited and nonedited GluR5 as inserts. 4. In the brain of control rats the extent of RNA editing of the GluR5 subunit amounted to 62 +/- 6.0% of total (cortex), 43 +/- 5.3% (striatum), 52 +/- 5.3% (hippocampus), 91 +/- 6.3% (thalamus), 85 +/- 10.2% (hypothalamus), 82 +/- 6.5% (cerebellum), 88 +/- 6.8% (pons/medulla oblongata), and 41 +/- 2.7% (white matter). 5. The extent of RNA editing varied, thus, considerably in different brain regions, being lowest in the white matter and striatum and highest in the thalamus and pons/medulla oblongate. RNA editing of glutamate receptor subunits may play an important role in the control of calcium fluxes through non-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor channels in different physiological and/or pathological states of the brain.
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