Diaz Quiroz Juan F.

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Diaz Quiroz
First Name
Juan F.

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  • Article
    Spatially regulated editing of genetic information within a neuron
    (Oxford University Press, 2020-03-23) Vallecillo-Viejo, Isabel C. ; Liscovitch-Brauer, Noa ; Diaz Quiroz, Juan F. ; Montiel-González, Maria Fernanda ; Nemes, Sonya E. ; Rangan, Kavita J. ; Levinson, Simon R. ; Eisenberg, Eli ; Rosenthal, Joshua J. C.
    In eukaryotic cells, with the exception of the specialized genomes of mitochondria and plastids, all genetic information is sequestered within the nucleus. This arrangement imposes constraints on how the information can be tailored for different cellular regions, particularly in cells with complex morphologies like neurons. Although messenger RNAs (mRNAs), and the proteins that they encode, can be differentially sorted between cellular regions, the information itself does not change. RNA editing by adenosine deamination can alter the genome’s blueprint by recoding mRNAs; however, this process too is thought to be restricted to the nucleus. In this work, we show that ADAR2 (adenosine deaminase that acts on RNA), an RNA editing enzyme, is expressed outside of the nucleus in squid neurons. Furthermore, purified axoplasm exhibits adenosine-to-inosine activity and can specifically edit adenosines in a known substrate. Finally, a transcriptome-wide analysis of RNA editing reveals that tens of thousands of editing sites (>70% of all sites) are edited more extensively in the squid giant axon than in its cell bodies. These results indicate that within a neuron RNA editing can recode genetic information in a region-specific manner.
  • Article
    Site-directed A→I RNA editing as a therapeutic tool: moving beyond genetic mutations
    (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2023-01-23) Quiroz, Juan F. Diaz ; Siskel, Louise D. ; Rosenthal, Joshua J. C.
    Adenosine deamination by the ADAR family of enzymes is a natural process that edits genetic information as it passes through messenger RNA. Adenosine is converted to inosine in mRNAs, and this base is interpreted as guanosine during translation. Realizing the potential of this activity for therapeutics, a number of researchers have developed systems that redirect ADAR activity to new targets, ones that are not normally edited. These site-directed RNA editing (SDRE) systems can be broadly classified into two categories: ones that deliver an antisense RNA oligonucleotide to bind opposite a target adenosine, creating an editable structure that endogenously expressed ADARs recognize, and ones that tether the catalytic domain of recombinant ADAR to an antisense RNA oligonucleotide that serves as a targeting mechanism, much like with CRISPR-Cas or RNAi. To date, SDRE has been used mostly to try and correct genetic mutations. Here we argue that these applications are not ideal SDRE, mostly because RNA edits are transient and genetic mutations are not. Instead, we suggest that SDRE could be used to tune cell physiology to achieve temporary outcomes that are therapeutically advantageous, particularly in the nervous system. These include manipulating excitability in nociceptive neural circuits, abolishing specific phosphorylation events to reduce protein aggregation related to neurodegeneration or reduce the glial scarring that inhibits nerve regeneration, or enhancing G protein-coupled receptor signaling to increase nerve proliferation for the treatment of sensory disorders like blindness and deafness.
  • Article
    Development of a selection assay for small guide RNAs that drive efficient site-directed RNA editing
    (Oxford University Press, 2023-02-25) Diaz Quiroz, Juan Felipe ; Ojha, Namrata ; Shayhidin, Elnur E. ; De Silva, Dasuni ; Dabney, Jesse ; Lancaster, Amy ; Coull, James ; Milstein, Stuart ; Fraley, Andrew W. ; Brown, Christopher R. ; Rosenthal, Joshua J. C.
    A major challenge confronting the clinical application of site-directed RNA editing (SDRE) is the design of small guide RNAs (gRNAs) that can drive efficient editing. Although many gRNA designs have effectively recruited endogenous Adenosine Deaminases that Act on RNA (ADARs), most of them exceed the size of currently FDA-approved antisense oligos. We developed an unbiased in vitro selection assay to identify short gRNAs that promote superior RNA editing of a premature termination codon. The selection assay relies on hairpin substrates in which the target sequence is linked to partially randomized gRNAs in the same molecule, so that gRNA sequences that promote editing can be identified by sequencing. These RNA substrates were incubated in vitro with ADAR2 and the edited products were selected using amplification refractory mutation system PCR and used to regenerate the substrates for a new round of selection. After nine repetitions, hairpins which drove superior editing were identified. When gRNAs of these hairpins were delivered in trans, eight of the top ten short gRNAs drove superior editing both in vitro and in cellula. These results show that efficient small gRNAs can be selected using our approach, an important advancement for the clinical application of SDRE.