Illuminating spatial A-to-I RNA editing signatures within the Drosophila brain

Anne L. Sapiro, Anat Shmueli, Gilbert Lee Henry, Qin Li, Tali Shalit, Orly Yaron, Yoav Paas, Jin Billy Li, Galit Shohat-Ophir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Adenosine-to-inosine (A-to-I) RNA editing, catalyzed by ADAR enzymes, is a ubiquitous mechanism that generates transcriptomic diversity. This process is particularly important for proper neuronal function; however, little is known about how RNA editing is dynamically regulated between the many functionally distinct neuronal populations of the brain. Here, we present a spatial RNA editing map in the Drosophila brain and show that different neuronal populations possess distinct RNA editing signatures. After purifying and sequencing RNA from genetically marked groups of neuronal nuclei, we identified a large number of editing sites and compared editing levels in hundreds of transcripts across nine functionally different neuronal populations. We found distinct editing repertoires for each population, including sites in repeat regions of the transcriptome and differential editing in highly conserved and likely functional regions of transcripts that encode essential neuronal genes. These changes are site-specific and not driven by changes in Adar expression, suggesting a complex, targeted regulation of editing levels in key transcripts. This fine-tuning of the transcriptome between different neurons by RNA editing may account for functional differences between distinct populations in the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2318-2327
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number6
Early online date18 Jan 2019
StatePublished - 5 Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

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© 2019 National Academy of Sciences. All Rights Reserved.


  • Drosophila
  • Neurons
  • RNA editing


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