Kaiyun Xin#, Yang Zhang, Ligang Fan, Zhaomei Qi, Chanjing Feng Qinhu Wang ,Cong Jiang, Jin-Rong Xu*, and Huiquan Liu *. Experimental evidence for the functional importance and adaptive advantage of A-to-I RNA editing in fungi.PNAS.2023.120 (12) e2219029120.
Adenosine-to-inosine (A-to-I) editing is the most prevalent type of RNA editing in animals, and it occurs in fungi specifically during sexual reproduction. However, it is debatable whether A-to-I RNA editing is adaptive. Deciphering the functional importance of individual editing sites is essential for the mechanistic understanding of the adaptive advantages of RNA editing. Here, by performing gene deletion for 17 genes with conserved missense editing (CME) sites and engineering underedited (ue) and overedited (oe) mutants for 10 CME sites using site-specific mutagenesis at the native locus in Fusarium graminearum , we demonstrated that two CME sites in CME5 and CME11 genes are functionally important for sexual reproduction. Although the overedited mutant was normal in sexual reproduction, the underedited mutant of CME5 had severe defects in ascus and ascospore formation like the deletion mutant, suggesting that the CME site of CME5 is co-opted for sexual development. The preediting residue of Cme5 is evolutionarily conserved across diverse classes of Ascomycota, while the postediting one is rarely hardwired into the genome, implying that editing at this site leads to higher fitness than a genomic A-to-G mutation. More importantly, mutants expressing only the underedited or the overedited allele of CME11 are defective in ascosporogenesis, while those expressing both alleles displayed normal phenotypes, indicating that concurrently expressing edited and unedited versions of Cme11 is more advantageous than either. Our study provides convincing experimental evidence for the long-suspected adaptive advantages of RNA editing in fungi and likely in animals.