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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2006 Mar;63(6):698-708.

RNA editing in plant organelles: machinery, physiological function and evolution.

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Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyushu University, 6-10-1 Hakozaki, Higashiku, Fukuoka 812-8581, Japan.


In plants, RNA editing is a process for converting a specific nucleotide of RNA from C to U and less frequently from U to C in mitochondria and plastids. To specify the site of editing, the cis-element adjacent to the editing site functions as a binding site for the trans-acting factor. Genetic approaches using Arabidopsis thaliana have clarified that a member of the protein family with pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) motifs is essential for RNA editing to generate a translational initiation codon of the chloroplast ndhD gene. The PPR motif is a highly degenerate unit of 35 amino acids and appears as tandem repeats in proteins that are involved in RNA maturation steps in mitochondria and plastids. The Arabidopsis genome encodes approximately 450 members of the PPR family, some of which possibly function as trans-acting factors binding the cis-elements of the RNA editing sites to facilitate access of an unidentified RNA editing enzyme. Based on this breakthrough in the research on plant RNA editing, I would like to discuss the possible steps of co-evolution of RNA editing events and PPR proteins.

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