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Plant Mol Biol. 2008 Jul;67(4):389-401. doi: 10.1007/s11103-008-9328-2. Epub 2008 Apr 9.

Arabidopsis thaliana mutants reveal a role for CSP41a and CSP41b, two ribosome-associated endonucleases, in chloroplast ribosomal RNA metabolism.

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Department of Cell Biology and the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


A proteomic analysis of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii 70S ribosomes identified two proteins, RAP38 and RAP41, which associate in stoichiometric amounts with intact ribosomes. In this work we show results that suggest the Arabidopsis thaliana homologs, CSP41b and CSP41a, participate in ribosomal RNA metabolism. Csp41a-1 and csp41b-1 single mutants show little phenotype, while the loss of both proteins is lethal. Plants homozygous for the csp41b-1 mutation and heterozygous for the csp41a-1 mutation (csp41b-1/csp41a-1*) fail to accumulate CSP41b and show a marked reduction in the levels of CSP41a. These mutants have reduced chlorophyll content, grow slower and over-accumulate 23S precursor rRNAs compared to their wild-type (WT) siblings, whereas other rRNAs or mRNAs are unaffected. Chloroplast polysome assembly is reduced in csp41b-1/csp41a-1* mutants, which also contain increased amounts of pre-ribosomal particles compared to mature 70S ribosomes. Our results also indicate that CSP41b associates with pre-ribosomal particles in vivo. In vitro, the pattern of 23S precursors and mature rRNAs is altered upon incubation with recombinant CSP41a and CSP41b. Taken together, these results suggest that CSP41a and CSP41b have a role in chloroplast ribosomal RNA metabolism, most likely acting in the final steps of 23S rRNA maturation.

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