Faithful editing of a tomato-specific mRNA editing site in transgenic tobacco chloroplasts

D. Karcher, Sabine Kahlau, R. Bock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


RNA editing sites and their site-specific trans-acting recognition factors are thought to have coevolved. Hence, evolutionary loss of an editing site by a genomic mutation is normally followed by the loss of the specific recognition factor for this site, due to the absence of selective pressure for its maintenance. Here, we have tested this scenario for the only tomato-specific plastid RNA editing site. A single C-to-U editing site in the tomato rps12 gene is absent from the tobacco and nightshade plastid genomes, where the presence of a genomic T nucleotide obviates the need for editing of the rps12 mRNA. We have introduced the tomato editing site into the tobacco rps12 gene by plastid transformation and find that, surprisingly, this heterologous site is efficiently edited in the transplastomic plants. This suggests that the trans-acting recognition factor for the rps12 editing site has been maintained, presumably because it serves another function in tobacco plastids. Bioinformatics analyses identified an editing site in the rpoB gene of tobacco and tomato whose sequence context exhibits striking similarity to that of the tomato rps12 editing site. This may suggest that requirement for rpoB editing resulted in maintenance of the rps12 editing activity or, alternatively, the pre-existing rpoB editing activity facilitated the evolution of a novel editing site in rps12.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-224
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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