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Plant Cell Physiol. 2001 Oct;42(10):1034-43.

An Arabidopsis sigma factor (SIG2)-dependent expression of plastid-encoded tRNAs in chloroplasts.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, Department of Molecular Biology, Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, 113-0032 Japan.


A eubacteria-type RNA polymerase (PEP) plays crucial roles for chloroplast development in higher plants. The core subunits are encoded on plastid DNA (rpo genes) while the regulatory sigma factors are encoded on the nuclear DNA (SIG genes). However, the definite gene specificity of each sigma factor is unknown. We recently identified an Arabidopsis recessive pale-green mutant abc1 in which T-DNA is inserted in SIG2 (sigB). In this mutant, almost normal etioplasts were developed under dark conditions while the small chloroplasts with poor thylakoid membranes and stacked lamellar were developed under light conditions. The sig2-1 mutant was deficient in accumulating enough photosynthetic and photosynthesis-related proteins as well as chlorophyll. However, mRNAs of their structural genes were not significantly reduced. Further analyses revealed that several plastid-encoded tRNAs including trnE-UUC that has dual function for protein and ALA biosyntheses were drastically reduced in the sig2-1 mutant. In contrast, nucleus-encoded T7 phage-type RNA polymerase (NEP)-dependent gene transcripts were steadily accumulated in the mutant. These results indicate that progress of chloroplast development requires SIG2-dependent expression of plastid genes, particularly some of the tRNA genes.

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