Reports

RNA editing in plant mitochondria

Science  22 Dec 1989:
Vol. 246, Issue 4937, pp. 1632-1634
DOI: 10.1126/science.2480644

Abstract

Comparative sequence analysis of genomic and complementary DNA clones from several mitochondrial genes in the higher plant Oenothera revealed nucleotide sequence divergences between the genomic and the messenger RNA-derived sequences. These sequence alterations could be most easily explained by specific post-transcriptional nucleotide modifications. Most of the nucleotide exchanges in coding regions lead to altered codons in the mRNA that specify amino acids better conserved in evolution than those encoded by the genomic DNA. Several instances show that the genomic arginine codon CGG is edited in the mRNA to the tryptophan codon TGG in amino acid positions that are highly conserved as tryptophan in the homologous proteins of other species. This editing suggests that the standard genetic code is used in plant mitochondria and resolves the frequent coincidence of CGG codons and tryptophan in different plant species. The apparently frequent and non-species-specific equivalency of CGG and TGG codons in particular suggests that RNA editing is a common feature of all higher plant mitochondria.

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