The Extent of mRNA Editing Is Limited in Chicken Liver and Adipose, but Impacted by Tissular Context, Genotype, Age, and Feeding as Exemplified with a Conserved Edited Site in COG3.


RNA editing is a posttranscriptional process leading to differences between genomic DNA and transcript sequences, potentially enhancing transcriptome diversity. With recent advances in high-throughput sequencing, many efforts have been made to describe mRNA editing at the transcriptome scale, especially in mammals, yielding contradictory conclusions regarding the extent of this phenomenon. We show, by detailed description of the 25 studies focusing so far on mRNA editing at the whole-transcriptome scale, that systematic sequencing artifacts are considered in most studies whereas biological replication is often neglected and multi-alignment not properly evaluated, which ultimately impairs the legitimacy of results. We recently developed a rigorous strategy to identify mRNA editing using mRNA and genomic DNA sequencing, taking into account sequencing and mapping artifacts, and biological replicates. We applied this method to screen for mRNA editing in liver and white adipose tissue from eight chickens and confirm the small extent of mRNA recoding in this species. Among the 25 unique edited sites identified, three events were previously described in mammals, attesting that this phenomenon is conserved throughout evolution. Deeper investigations on five sites revealed the impact of tissular context, genotype, age, feeding conditions, and sex on mRNA editing levels. More specifically, this analysis highlighted that the editing level at the site located on COG3 was strongly regulated by four of these factors. By comprehensively characterizing the mRNA editing landscape in chickens, our results highlight how this phenomenon is limited and suggest regulation of editing levels by various genetic and environmental factors.

G3 (Bethesda, Md.)