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Arabidopsis Encodes Four tRNase Z Enzymes1[W][OA]

Journal
PLANT PHYSIOLOGY
Publisher
American Society of Plant Biologists
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2009
Volume
150
Issue
3
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1104/pp.109.137950
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Biology
License
Unknown

Abstract

Functional transfer RNA (tRNA) molecules are a prerequisite for protein biosynthesis. Several processing steps are required to generate the mature functional tRNA from precursor molecules. Two of the early processing steps involve cleavage at the tRNA 5′ end and the tRNA 3′ end. While processing at the tRNA 5′ end is performed by RNase P, cleavage at the 3′ end is catalyzed by the endonuclease tRNase Z. In eukaryotes, tRNase Z enzymes are found in two versions: a short form of about 250 to 300 amino acids and a long form of about 700 to 900 amino acids. All eukaryotic genomes analyzed to date encode at least one long tRNase Z protein. Of those, Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) is the only organism that encodes four tRNase Z proteins, two short forms and two long forms. We show here that the four proteins are distributed to different subcellular compartments in the plant cell: the nucleus, the cytoplasm, the mitochondrion, and the chloroplast. One tRNase Z is present only in the cytoplasm, one protein is found exclusively in mitochondria, while the third one has dual locations: nucleus and mitochondria. None of these three tRNase Z proteins is essential. The fourth tRNase Z protein is present in chloroplasts, and deletion of its gene results in an embryo-lethal phenotype. In vitro analysis with the recombinant proteins showed that all four tRNase Z enzymes have tRNA 3′ processing activity. In addition, the mitochondrial tRNase Z proteins cleave tRNA-like elements that serve as processing signals in mitochondrial mRNA maturation.

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