RNA editing in the forefront of epitranscriptomics and human health
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Post-Transcriptional modifications have been recently expanded with the addition of RNA editing, which is predominantly mediated by adenosine and cytidine deaminases acting on DNA and RNA. Here, we review the full spectrum of physiological processes in which these modifiers are implicated, among different organisms. Adenosine to inosine (A-To-I) editors, members of the ADAR and ADAT protein families are important regulators of alternative splicing and transcriptional control. On the other hand, cytidine to uridine (C-To-U) editors, members of the AID/APOBEC family, are heavily implicated in innate and adaptive immunity with important roles in antibody diversification and antiviral response. Physiologically, these enzymes are present in the nucleus and/or the cytoplasm, where they modify various RNA molecules, including miRNAs, tRNAs apart from mRNAs, whereas DNA editing is also possible by some of them. The expansion of next generation sequencing technologies provided a wealth of data regarding such modifications. RNA editing has been implicated in various disorders including cancer, and neurological diseases of the brain or the central nervous system. It is also related to cancer heterogeneity and the onset of carcinogenesis. Response to treatment can also be affected by the RNA editing status where drug efficacy is significantly compromised. Studying RNA editing events can pave the way to the identification of new disease biomarkers, and provide a more personalised therapy to various diseases.