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Plant Cell. Mar 1997; 9(3): 283–296.
PMCID: PMC156918

Nuclear mutations that block group II RNA splicing in maize chloroplasts reveal several intron classes with distinct requirements for splicing factors.


To elucidate mechanisms that regulate chloroplast RNA splicing in multicellular plants, we sought nuclear mutations in maize that result in chloroplast splicing defects. Evidence is presented for two nuclear genes whose function is required for the splicing of group II introns in maize chloroplasts. A mutation in the crs1 (for chloroplast RNA splicing 1) gene blocks the splicing of only the atpF intron, whereas a mutation in the crs2 gene blocks the splicing of many chloroplast introns. In addition, a correlation was observed between the absence of plastid ribosomes and the failure to splice several chloroplast introns. Our results suggest that a chloroplast-encoded factor and a nuclear-encoded factor whose activity requires crs2 function facilitate the splicing of distinct sets of group II introns. These two genetically defined intron sets also differ with regard to intron structure: one set consists of only subgroup IIA introns and the other of only subgroup IIB introns. Therefore, it is likely that distinct splicing factors recognize subgroup-specific features of intron structure or facilitate subgroup-specific aspects of the splicing reaction. Of the 12 pre-mRNA introns in the maize chloroplast genome, only one is normally spliced in both crs2 mutants and in mutants lacking plastid ribosomes, indicating that few, if any, of the group II introns in the chloroplast genome undergo autocatalytic splicing in vivo.

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Selected References

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