Annu Rev Biochem 2002 9;71:817-46. Epub 2001 Nov 9.
Department of Biochemistry and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah 84132, USA.
ADARs are RNA editing enzymes that target double-stranded regions of nuclear-encoded RNA and viral RNA. These enzymes are particularly abundant in the nervous system, where they diversify the information encoded in the genome, for example, by altering codons in mRNAs. The functions of ADARs in known substrates suggest that the enzymes serve to fine-tune and optimize many biological pathways, in ways that we are only starting to imagine. ADARs are also interesting in regard to the remarkable double-stranded structures of their substrates and how enzyme specificity is achieved with little regard to sequence. This review summarizes ongoing investigations of the enzyme family and their substrates, focusing on biological function as well as biochemical mechanism.