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Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Sep;40(16):7956-66. doi: 10.1093/nar/gks476. Epub 2012 May 27.

RNase MRP RNA and RNase P activity in plants are associated with a Pop1p containing complex.

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Molekulare Zelltherapie, Biotechnologisch-Biomedizinisches Zentrum, Universität Leipzig, Deutscher Platz 5, 04103 Leipzig, Germany.


RNase P processes the 5'-end of tRNAs. An essential catalytic RNA has been demonstrated in Bacteria, Archaea and the nuclei of most eukaryotes; an organism-specific number of proteins complement the holoenzyme. Nuclear RNase P from yeast and humans is well understood and contains an RNA, similar to the sister enzyme RNase MRP. In contrast, no protein subunits have yet been identified in the plant enzymes, and the presence of a nucleic acid in RNase P is still enigmatic. We have thus set out to identify and characterize the subunits of these enzymes in two plant model systems. Expression of the two known Arabidopsis MRP RNA genes in vivo was verified. The first wheat MRP RNA sequences are presented, leading to improved structure models for plant MRP RNAs. A novel mRNA encoding the central RNase P/MRP protein Pop1p was identified in Arabidopsis, suggesting the expression of distinct protein variants from this gene in vivo. Pop1p-specific antibodies precipitate RNase P activity and MRP RNAs from wheat extracts. Our results provide evidence that in plants, Pop1p is associated with MRP RNAs and with the catalytic subunit of RNase P, either separately or in a single large complex.

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