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Mol Genet Genomics. 2002 Aug;267(6):797-805. Epub 2002 Jul 4.

Structural features and expression analysis of a linear mitochondrial plasmid in rapeseed (Brassica napus L.).

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  • 1Laboratory of Plant Genecology, National Agricultural Research Center for Hokkaido Region, 1, Hitsuji-ga-oka, Toyohira-ku, Sapporo 062-8555, Japan.


A linear plasmid molecule about 11 kb in length is present in the mitochondria of some varieties of rapeseed (Brassica napus L.). This plasmid can be inherited from the male parent, through the pollen, as well as by the usual maternal route, although the main mitochondrial genome is maternally inherited in rapeseed. We determined the complete nucleotide sequence of this plasmid DNA and clarified its genetic organization. The length of the linear plasmid is 11,640 bp. At the termini of the plasmid molecule are inverted repeats of 327 bp. The GC content of the plasmid DNA is 30.9%; thus, the plasmid is quite AT-rich compared to the main mitochondrial genome in higher plants. The plasmid has six ORFs, two of which encode a phage-type DNA polymerase and a phage-type RNA polymerase, respectively. RT-PCR analyses revealed that all six ORFs are transcribed, and all four ORFs on the minus strand are probably cotranscribed from a single promoter located in the terminal inverted repeat. We also show here that at least three of the six ORFs are translated into proteins in rapeseed mitochondria, and expressed at relatively high levels in flowers, as shown by Western analysis. These results suggest that this linear DNA molecule is able to replicate as an autonomous replicon and to express the genes it carries in rapeseed mitochondria.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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