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Plant J. 2001 Aug;27(3):179-89.

Knock-out of the plastid ribosomal protein L11 in Arabidopsis: effects on mRNA translation and photosynthesis.

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Zentrum zur Identifikation von Genfunktionen durch Insertionsmutagenese bei Arabidopsis thaliana (ZIGIA), Max-Planck-Institut für Zuchtungsforschung, Carl-von-Linné-Weg 10, 50829 Köln, Germany.


The prpl11-1 mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana was identified among a collection of T-DNA tagged lines on the basis of a decrease in the effective quantum yield of photosystem II. The mutation responsible was localized to Prpl11, a single-copy nuclear gene that encodes PRPL11, a component of the large subunit of the plastid ribosome. The amino acid sequence of Arabidopsis PRPL11 is very similar to those of L11 proteins from spinach and prokaryotes. In the prpl11-1 mutant, photosensitivity and chlorophyll fluorescence parameters are significantly altered owing to changes in the levels of thylakoid protein complexes and stromal proteins. The abundance of most plastome transcripts examined, such as those of genes coding for the photosystem II core complex and RbcL, is not decreased. Plastid ribosomal RNA accumulates in wild-type amounts, and the assembly of plastid polysomes on the transcripts of the rbcL, psbA and psbE genes remains mainly unchanged in mutant plants, indicating that lack of PRPL11 affects neither the abundance of plastid ribosomes nor their assembly into polysomes. However, in vivo translation assays demonstrate that the rate of translation of the large subunit of Rubisco (RbcL) is significantly reduced in prpl11-1 plastids. Our data suggest a major role for PRPL11 in plastid ribosome activity per se, consistent with its location near the GTPase-binding centre of the chloroplast 50S ribosomal subunit. Additional effects of the mutation, including the pale green colour of the leaves and a drastic reduction in growth rate under greenhouse conditions, are compatible with reduced levels of protein synthesis in plastids.

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