RNA-editing by adenosine deaminases acting on RNA (ADARs) converts adenosines to inosines in structured RNAs. Inosines are read as guanosines by most cellular machineries. A to I editing has two major functions: first, marking endogenous RNAs as “self”, therefore helping the innate immune system to distinguish repeat- and endogenous retrovirus-derived RNAs from invading pathogenic RNAs; and second, recoding the information of the coding RNAs, leading to the translation of proteins that differ from their genomically encoded versions. It is obvious that these two important biological functions of ADARs will differ during development, in different tissues, upon altered physiological conditions or after exposure to pathogens. Indeed, different levels of ADAR-mediated editing have been observed in different tissues, as a response to altered physiology or upon pathogen exposure. In this review, we describe the dynamics of A to I editing and summarize the known and likely mechanisms that will lead to global but also substrate-specific regulation of A to I editing.
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