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Nucleic Acids Res. Jul 25, 1989; 17(14): 5461–5476.
PMCID: PMC318170

Chloroplast-like transfer RNA genes expressed in wheat mitochondria.

Abstract

In the course of a systematic survey of wheat mitochondrial tRNA genes, we have sequenced chloroplast-like serine (trnS-GGA), phenylalanine (trnF-GAA) and cysteine (trnC-GCA) tRNA genes and their flanking regions. These genes are remnants of 'promiscuous' chloroplast DNA that has been incorporated into wheat mtDNA in the course of its evolution. Each gene differs by one or a few nucleotides from the authentic chloroplast homolog previously characterized in wheat or other plants, and each could potentially encode a functional tRNA whose secondary structure shows no deviations from the generalized model. To determine whether these chloroplast-like tRNA genes are actually expressed, wheat mitochondrial tRNAs were resolved by a series of polyacrylamide gel electrophoreses, after being specifically end-labeled in vitro by 3'-CCA addition mediated by wheat tRNA nucleotidyltransferase. Subsequent direct RNA sequence analysis identified prominent tRNA species corresponding to the mitochondrial and not the chloroplast trnS, trnF and trnC genes. This analysis also revealed chloroplast-like elongator methionine, asparagine and tryptophan tRNAs. Our results suggest that at least some chloroplast-like tRNA genes in wheat mtDNA are transcribed, with transcripts undergoing processing, post-transcriptional modification and 3'-CCA addition, to produce mature tRNAs that may participate in mitochondrial protein synthesis.

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