In Trypanosoma brucei, most mitochondrial mRNAs undergo editing, and 3' adenylation and uridylation. The internal sequence changes and terminal extensions are coordinated: pre-editing addition of the short (A) tail protects the edited transcript against 3'-5' degradation, while post-editing A/U-tailing renders mRNA competent for translation. Participation of a poly(A) binding protein (PABP) in coupling of editing and 3' modification processes has been inferred, but its identity and mechanism of action remained elusive. We report identification of KPAF4, a pentatricopeptide repeat-containing PABP which sequesters the A-tail and impedes mRNA degradation. Conversely, KPAF4 inhibits uridylation of A-tailed transcripts and, therefore, premature A/U-tailing of partially-edited mRNAs. This quality check point likely prevents translation of incompletely edited mRNAs. We also find that RNA editing substrate binding complex (RESC) mediates the interaction between the 5' end-bound pyrophosphohydrolase MERS1 and 3' end-associated KPAF4 to enable mRNA circularization. This event appears to be critical for edited mRNA stability.
Journal: Nature communications