Octopuses, Squids And Cuttlefish Can Edit Their RNA

Posted: Apr 7 2017, 5:01am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 7 2017, 9:10am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefish can Edit their RNA
Octopus, squid, and cuttlefish are famous for engaging in complex behavior, from unlocking an aquarium tank and escaping to instantaneous skin camouflage to hide from predators. A new study suggests their evolutionary path to neural sophistication includes a novel mechanism: Prolific RNA editing at the expense of evolution in their genomic DNA. Credit: Getty Images
  • Octopus and the Squid often engage in Genes Editing

It so happens to be the case that cephalopods such as the octopus and the squid not to mention the cuttlefish often engage in RNA editing. That may be one of the reasons behnd their cleverness.

The octopus, the squid and cuttlefish often take part in complicated behavior. This may range from escaping from confinement to skin color changes in order to hide from predators.

A novel study shows that their evolution to being such crafty creatures involved a neural methodology. This was apparently the editing of the RNA.

Scientists already know that squids show a high degree of editing in the coding areas of their RNA. This is chiefly in the nervous system cells. Thus this has the impact of diversifying the proteins that the cells can manufacture.

Over 60% of the RNA transcripts in the octopus brain are recoded via editing. On the contrary in humans and fruit flies, only a minute fraction of 1% of the RNA has recoding taking place in it.

The researchers found top notch RNA editing going on in three smart cephalopod species. They included two soecies of octopus and one cuttlefish.

Also a huge number of evolutionary conserved RNA recoding sites were found in these species. These were termed coleoid. Editing is a productive process in the coleoid nervous system.

Certain affecting proteins had a pivotal role in neural excitability and neuronal morphology. On the other hand, if you look at RNA editing in the Nautilaus and Aplysia, you immediately notice that it takes place at levels which are lower than in coleoids.

Thus the high level of RNA editing is a not a feature of molluscs but is a characteristic of coleoid cephalopods. Such a thing also doesn’t occur in mammals.

There is obviously a whole different process which is going on in cephalopods. There was also a trade-off between RNA recoding and genome evolution in these curious creatures.

Usually RNA editing occurs via ADAR enzymes. These require large structures existing side by side with the sites. These structures go on and on till their numbers reach hundreds of neuclotides.

Genetic mutation in these regions is low. Thus for this flexibility to occur in RNA editing, evolution had to be stopped dead in its tracks.

The study regarding this was published in the journal Cell recently.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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