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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Jul 1;105(26):9123-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0800909105. Epub 2008 Jun 20.

Intraplastidial trafficking of a phage-type RNA polymerase is mediated by a thylakoid RING-H2 protein.

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Laboratoire Plastes et Differénciation Cellulaire, Université Joseph Fourier and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, B.P. 53, F-38041 Grenoble Cedex 9, France.


The plastid genome of dicotyledonous plants is transcribed by three different RNA polymerases; an eubacterial-type enzyme, PEP; and two phage-type enzymes, RPOTp and RPOTmp. RPOTp plays an important role in chloroplast transcription, biogenesis, and mesophyll cell proliferation. RPOTmp fulfills a specific function in the transcription of the rrn operon in proplasts/amyloplasts during seed imbibition/germination and a more general function in chloroplasts during later developmental stages. In chloroplasts, RPOTmp is tightly associated with thylakoid membranes indicating that functional switching of RPOTmp is connected to thylakoid association. By using the yeast two-hybrid system, we have identified two proteins that interact with RPOTmp. The two proteins are very similar, both characterized by three N-terminal transmembrane domains and a C-terminal RING domain. We show that at least one of these proteins is an intrinsic thylakoid membrane protein that fixes RPOTmp on the stromal side of the thylakoid membrane, probably via the RING domain. A model is presented in which light by triggering the synthesis of the RING protein determines membrane association and functional switching of RPOTmp.

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