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The discovery of plastid-to-nucleus retrograde signaling—a personal perspective

DNA and machinery for gene expression have been discovered in chloroplasts during the 1960s. It was soon evident that the chloroplast genome is relatively small, that most genes for chloroplast-localized proteins reside in the nucleus and that chloroplast membranes, ribosomes, and protein complexes are composed of proteins encoded in both the chloroplast and the nuclear genome...

In vitro promoter recognition by the catalytic subunit of plant phage-type RNA polymerases

Key message We identified sequence motifs, which enhance or reduce the ability of the Arabidopsis phage-type RNA polymerases RPOTm (mitochondrial RNAP), RPOTp (plastidial RNAP), and RPOTmp (active in both organelles) to recognize their promoters in vitro with help of a ‘specificity loop’. The importance of this data for the evolution and function of the organellar RNA polymerases...

The “Wave Bridge” for bypassing oceanic wave momentum

Here, we introduce and investigate the concept of the Wave Bridge that can bypass the momentum of oceanic waves about ocean objects. The Wave Bridge is composed of a wave energy absorber on the upstream side of an ocean object, and a wave maker on its downstream side. The wave absorber and the wave maker are mechanically connected in such a way that the wave energy absorbed on...

A third mitochondrial RNA polymerase in the moss Physcomitrella patens

In most organisms, the mitochondrial genes are transcribed by RNA polymerases related to the single-subunit RNA polymerases of bacteriophages like T3 and T7. In flowering plants, duplication(s) of the RpoTm gene coding for the mitochondrial RNA polymerase (RPOTm) led to the evolution of additional RNA polymerases transcribing genes in plastids (RPOTp) or in both mitochondria and...

Mitochondrial atp9 genes from petaloid male-sterile and male-fertile carrots differ in their status of heteroplasmy, recombination involvement, post-transcriptional processing as well as accumulation of RNA and protein product

Key message Petaloid cytoplasmic male-sterile carrots exhibit overexpression of the mitochondrial atp9 genes which is associated with specific features in organization and expression of these sequences. Abstract In carrots, the Sp-cytoplasm causes transformation of stamens into petal-like organs, while plants carrying normal N-cytoplasm exhibit normal flower morphology. Our work...

Abscisic acid represses the transcription of chloroplast genes*

Numerous studies have shown effects of abscisic acid (ABA) on nuclear genes encoding chloroplast-localized proteins. ABA effects on the transcription of chloroplast genes, however, have not been investigated yet thoroughly. This work, therefore, studied the effects of ABA (75 μM) on transcription and steady-state levels of transcripts in chloroplasts of basal and apical segments...

Evolution of plant phage-type RNA polymerases: the genome of the basal angiosperm Nuphar advena encodes two mitochondrial and one plastid phage-type RNA polymerases

Background In mono- and eudicotyledonous plants, a small nuclear gene family (RpoT, RNA polymerase of the T3/T7 type) encodes mitochondrial as well as chloroplast RNA polymerases homologous to the T-odd bacteriophage enzymes. RpoT genes from angiosperms are well characterized, whereas data from deeper branching plant species are limited to the moss Physcomitrella and the...

Transcriptomic response to prolonged ethanol production in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC6803

Background The production of biofuels in photosynthetic microalgae and cyanobacteria is a promising alternative to the generation of fuels from fossil resources. To be economically competitive, producer strains need to be established that synthesize the targeted product at high yield and over a long time. Engineering cyanobacteria into forced fuel producers should considerably...

Protein-mediated protection as the predominant mechanism for defining processed mRNA termini in land plant chloroplasts

Most chloroplast mRNAs are processed from larger precursors. Several mechanisms have been proposed to mediate these processing events, including site-specific cleavage and the stalling of exonucleases by RNA structures. A protein barrier mechanism was proposed based on analysis of the pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) protein PPR10: PPR10 binds two intercistronic regions and impedes...

Natural Biocombinatorics in the Polyketide Synthase Genes of the Actinobacterium Streptomyces avermitilis

Modular polyketide synthases (PKSs) of bacteria provide an enormous reservoir of natural chemical diversity. Studying natural biocombinatorics may aid in the development of concepts for experimental design of genes for the biosynthesis of new bioactive compounds. Here we address the question of how the modularity of biosynthetic enzymes and the prevalence of multiple gene...

Faithful transcription initiation from a mitochondrial promoter in transgenic plastids

The transcriptional machineries of plastids and mitochondria in higher plants exhibit striking similarities. All mitochondrial genes and part of the plastid genes are transcribed by related phage-type RNA polymerases. Furthermore, the majority of mitochondrial promoters and a subset of plastid promoters show a similar structural organization. We show here that the plant...

The Cyanobacterial Hepatotoxin Microcystin Binds to Proteins and Increases the Fitness of Microcystis under Oxidative Stress Conditions

Microcystins are cyanobacterial toxins that represent a serious threat to drinking water and recreational lakes worldwide. Here, we show that microcystin fulfils an important function within cells of its natural producer Microcystis. The microcystin deficient mutant ΔmcyB showed significant changes in the accumulation of proteins, including several enzymes of the Calvin cycle...

Biparental inheritance of plastidial and mitochondrial DNA and hybrid variegation in Pelargonium

Plastidial (pt) and mitochondrial (mt) genes usually show maternal inheritance. Non-Mendelian, biparental inheritance of plastids was first described by Baur (Z Indukt Abstamm Vererbungslehre 1:330–351, 1909) for crosses between Pelargonium cultivars. We have analyzed the inheritance of pt and mtDNA by examining the progeny from reciprocal crosses of Pelargonium zonale and P...

Multiple promoters are a common feature of mitochondrial genes in Arabidopsis

Mitochondrial genes in the plant Arabidopsis thaliana are transcribed by two phage-type RNA polymerases encoded in the nucleus. Little is known about cis-elements that are recognized by these enzymes and mediate the transcription of the Arabidopsis mitochondrial genome. Here, 30 transcription initiation sites of 12 mitochondrial genes and gene clusters have been determined using...

Impaired function of the phage-type RNA polymerase RpoTp in transcription of chloroplast genes is compensated by a second phage-type RNA polymerase

Although chloroplast genomes are small, the transcriptional machinery is very complex in plastids of higher plants. Plastidial genes of higher plants are transcribed by plastid-encoded (PEP) and nuclear-encoded RNA polymerases (NEP). The nuclear genome of Arabidopsis contains two candidate genes for NEP, RpoTp and RpoTmp, both coding for phage-type RNA polymerases. We have...

Complex chloroplast RNA metabolism: just debugging the genetic programme?

Background The gene expression system of chloroplasts is far more complex than that of their cyanobacterial progenitor. This gain in complexity affects in particular RNA metabolism, specifically the transcription and maturation of RNA. Mature chloroplast RNA is generated by a plethora of nuclear-encoded proteins acquired or recruited during plant evolution, comprising additional...

Overexpression of phage‐type RNA polymerase RpoTp in tobacco demonstrates its role in chloroplast transcription by recognizing a distinct promoter type

Plant cells possess three DNA‐containing compartments, the nucleus, the mitochondria and the plastids. Accordingly, plastid gene regulation is fairly complex. Albeit plastids retained their own genome and prokaryotic‐type gene expression system by a plastid‐encoded RNA polymerase (PEP), they need a second nuclear‐encoded plastid transcription activity, NEP. Candidate genes for...

Comparative analysis of splicing of the complete set of chloroplast group II introns in three higher plant mutants

The barleymutant albostrians and the maize mutants crs1 and crs2 are defective in the splicing of various plastid group II introns. By analysing tRNA precursors and several mRNAs not previously examined, the investigation of in vivo splicing defects in these mutants has been completed. The albostrians mutation causes the loss of plastid ribosomes resulting secondarily in a...

Precise branch point mapping and quantification of splicing intermediates

Lariat intermediates of a group II intron were investigated via RT-PCR. Several reverse transcriptases appeared capable of reading through a branched nucleotide. A new method has been established that yields precise information about the location of the branch point within an intron. As an extension of our approach, antisense transcripts of the previously cloned PCR products were...

Unique Features of the Mitochondrial Rolling Circle-Plasmid mp1 from the Higher Plant Chenopodium Album (L.)

We analyzed the structure and replication of the mitochondrial (mt) circular DNA plasmid mpl (1309 bp) from the higher plant Chenopodium album (L.). Two dimensional gel electrophoresis (2DE) revealed the existence of oligomers of up to a decamer in addition to the prevailing monomeric form. The migration behavior of cut replication intermediates during 2DE was consistent with a...