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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2011 Mar;68(5):735-48. doi: 10.1007/s00018-010-0523-3. Epub 2010 Sep 17.

Function of chloroplast RNA-binding proteins.

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Department for General and Molecular Biology, Ruhr-University Bochum, Universitätsstraße 150, Bochum, Germany.


Chloroplasts are eukaryotic organelles which represent evolutionary chimera with proteins that have been derived from either a prokaryotic endosymbiont or a eukaryotic host. Chloroplast gene expression starts with transcription of RNA and is followed by multiple post-transcriptional processes which are mediated mainly by an as yet unknown number of RNA-binding proteins. Here, we review the literature to date on the structure and function of these chloroplast RNA-binding proteins. For example, the functional protein domains involved in RNA binding, such as the RNA-recognition motifs, the chloroplast RNA-splicing and ribosome maturation domains, and the pentatricopeptide-repeat motifs, are summarized. We also describe biochemical and forward genetic approaches that led to the identification of proteins modifying RNA stability or carrying out RNA splicing or editing. Such data will greatly contribute to a better understanding of the biogenesis of a unique organelle found in all photosynthetic organisms.

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