The E3 ubiquitin ligase SMURF2 stabilizes RNA editase ADAR1p110 and promotes its adenosine-to-inosine (A-to-I) editing function

Praveen Koganti, Venkata Narasimha Kadali, Dhanoop Manikoth Ayyathan, Andrea Emanuelli, Biagio Paolini, Gal Levy-Cohen, Michael Blank

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3 Scopus citations


Epitranscriptomic changes in RNA catalyzed by the RNA-editing enzyme ADAR1 play an essential role in the regulation of diverse molecular and cellular processes, both under physiological conditions and in disease states, including cancer. Yet, despite a growing body of evidence pointing to ADAR1 as a potential therapeutic target, the mechanisms regulating its cellular abundance and activity, particularly of its constitutively expressed and ubiquitous form, ADAR1p110, are poorly understood. Here, we report the HECT-type E3 ubiquitin ligase SMURF2 as a pivotal regulator of ADAR1p110. We show that SMURF2, which is primarily known to promote the ubiquitin-mediated degradation of its protein substrates, protects ADAR1p110 from proteolysis and promotes its A-to-I editase activity in human and mouse cells and tissues. ADAR1p110’s interactome analysis performed in human cells also showed a positive influence of SMURF2 on the stability and function of ADAR1p110. Mechanistically, we found that SMURF2 directly binds, ubiquitinates and stabilizes ADAR1p110 in an E3 ubiquitin ligase-dependent manner, through ADAR1p110 ubiquitination at lysine-744 (K744). Mutation of this residue to arginine (K744R), which is also associated with several human disorders, including dyschromatosis symmetrica hereditaria (DSH) and some types of cancer, abolished SMURF2-mediated protection of ADAR1p110 from both proteasomal and lysosomal degradation and inactivated ADAR1p110-mediated RNA editing. Our findings reveal a novel mechanism underlying the regulation of ADAR1 in mammalian cells and suggest SMURF2 as a key cellular factor influencing the protein abundance, interactions and functions of ADAR1p110.

Original languageEnglish
Article number237
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - 11 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


  • A-to-I RNA editing
  • ADAR1p110
  • Interactome
  • SMURF2
  • Ubiquitination


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