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RNA Biol. 2013;10(9):1469-76. doi: 10.4161/rna.25568. Epub 2013 Jul 9.

The Rf and Rf-like PPR in higher plants, a fast-evolving subclass of PPR genes.

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INRA; UMR1318; Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin; RD10; Versailles, France; AgroParisTech; Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin; RD10; Versailles, France.


In the last years, a number of nuclear genes restoring cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) have been cloned in various crop species. The majority of these genes have been shown to encode pentatricopeptide repeat proteins (PPR) that act by specifically suppressing the expression of sterility-causing mitochondrial transcripts. Functional analysis of these proteins has indicated that the inhibitory effects of restoring PPR (Rf-PPR) proteins involve various mechanisms, including RNA cleavage, RNA destabilization, or translation inhibition. Cross-species sequence comparison of PPR protein complements revealed that most plant genomes encode 10-30 Rf-like (RFL) proteins sharing high-sequence similarity with the identified Rf-PPRs from crops. Evolutionary analyses further showed that they constitute a monophyletic group apart in the PPR family, with peculiar evolution dynamic and constraints. Here we review recent data on RF-PPRs and present the latest discoveries on the RFL family, with prospects on the functionality and evolution of this peculiar subclass of PPR.


CMS; PPR; RNA processing; fertility restorers; mitochondria; pollen

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