Adenosine deaminases acting on RNA (ADARs) are key proteins for hematopoietic stem cell self-renewal and for survival of differentiating progenitor cells. However, their specific role in myeloid cell maturation has been poorly investigated. Here we show that ADAR1 is present at basal level in the primary myeloid leukemia cells obtained from patients at diagnosis as well as in myeloid U-937 and THP1 cell lines and its expression correlates with the editing levels. Upon phorbol-myristate acetate or Vitamin D3/granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF)-driven differentiation, both ADAR1 and ADAR2 enzymes are upregulated, with a concomitant global increase of A-to-I RNA editing. ADAR1 silencing caused an editing decrease at specific ADAR1 target genes, without, however, interfering with cell differentiation or with ADAR2 activity. Remarkably, ADAR2 is absent in the undifferentiated cell stage, due to its elimination through the ubiquitin–proteasome pathway, being strongly upregulated at the end of the differentiation process. Of note, peripheral blood monocytes display editing events at the selected targets similar to those found in differentiated cell lines. Taken together, the data indicate that ADAR enzymes play important and distinct roles in myeloid cells.
- RNA editing