Adenosine deaminases acting on RNA (ADARs) convert adenosine to inosine in double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). Among the three types of mammalian ADARs, ADAR1 has long been recognized as an essential enzyme for normal development. The interferon-inducible ADAR1p150 is involved in immune responses to both exogenous and endogenous triggers, whereas the functions of the constitutively expressed ADAR1p110 are variable. Recent findings that ADAR1 is involved in the recognition of self versus non-self dsRNA provide potential explanations for its links to hematopoiesis, type I interferonopathies, and viral infections. Editing in both coding and noncoding sequences results in diseases ranging from cancers to neurological abnormalities. Furthermore, editing of noncoding sequences, like microRNAs, can regulate protein expression, while editing of Alu sequences can affect translational efficiency and editing of proximal sequences. Novel identifications of long noncoding RNA and retrotransposons as editing targets further expand the effects of A-to-I editing. Besides editing, ADAR1 also interacts with other dsRNA-binding proteins in editing-independent manners. Elucidating the disease-specific patterns of editing and/or ADAR1 expression may be useful in making diagnoses and prognoses. In this review, we relate the mechanisms of ADAR1′s actions to its pathological implications, and suggest possible mechanisms for the unexplained associations between ADAR1 and human diseases.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited