Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Cell Biol. 1991 Jan;11(1):533-43.

Transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulation of maize mitochondrial gene expression.

Author information

Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, California 94305-5020.


Lysed maize mitochondria synthesize RNA in the presence of radioactive nucleoside triphosphates, and this assay was utilized to compare the rates of transcription of seven genes. The rates of incorporation varied over a 14-fold range, with the following rank order: 18S rRNA greater than 26S rRNA greater than atp1 greater than atp6 greater than atp9 greater than cob greater than cox3. The products of run-on transcription hybridized specifically to known transcribed regions and selectively to the antisense DNA strand; thus, the isolated run-on transcription system appears to be an accurate representation of endogenous transcription. Although there were small differences in gene copy abundance, these differences cannot account for the differences in apparent transcription rates; we conclude that promoter strength is the main determinant. Among the protein coding genes, incorporation was greatest for atp1. The most active transcription initiation site of this gene was characterized by hybridization with in vitro-capped RNA and by primer extension analyses. The DNA sequences at this and other transcription initiation sites that we have previously mapped were analyzed with respect to the apparent promoter strengths. We propose that two short sequence elements just upstream of initiation sites form at least a portion of the sequence requirements for a maize mitochondrial promoter. In addition to modulation at the level of transcription, steady-state abundance of protein-coding mRNAs varied over a 20-fold range and did not correlate with transcriptional activity. These observations suggest that posttranscriptional processes are important in the modulation of mRNA abundance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center