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Annu Rev Genet. 1998;32:437-59.

Evolution and mechanism of translation in chloroplasts.

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Center for Gene Research, Nagoya University, Japan.


The entire sequence (120-190 kb) of chloroplast genomes has been determined from a dozen plant species. The genome contains from 87 to 183 known genes, of which half encode components involved in translation. These include a complete set of rRNAs and about 30 tRNAs, which are likely to be sufficient to support translation in chloroplasts. RNA editing (mostly C to U base changes) occurs in some chloroplast transcripts, creating start and stop codons and changing codons to retain conserved amino acids. Many components that constitute the chloroplast translational machinery are similar to those of Escherichia coli, whereas only one third of the chloroplast mRNAs contain Shine-Dalgarno-like sequences at the correct positions. Analyses conducted in vivo and in vitro have revealed the existence of multiple mechanisms for translational initiation in chloroplasts.

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