Organellar RNA Editing and Plant-Specific Extensions of Pentatricopeptide Repeat Proteins in Jungermanniid but not in Marchantiid Liverworts
Molecular biology and evolution
The pyrimidine exchange type of RNA editing in land plant (embryophyte) organelles has largely remained an enigma with respect to its biochemical mechanisms, the underlying specificities, and its raison d'être. Apparently arising with the earliest embryophytes, RNA editing is conspicuously absent in one clade of liverworts, the complex thalloid Marchantiidae. Several lines of evidence suggest that the large gene family of organelle-targeted RNA-binding pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) proteins
... t (PPR) proteins plays a fundamental role in the sequence-specific editing of organelle transcripts. We here describe the identification of PPR protein genes with plant-specific carboxyterminal (C-terminal) sequence signatures (E, Eþ, and DYW domains) in ferns, lycopodiophytes, mosses, hornworts, and jungermanniid liverworts, one subclass of the basal most clade of embryophytes, on DNA and cDNA level. In contrast, we were unable to identify these genes in a wide sampling of marchantiid liverworts (including the phylogenetic basal genus Blasia)-taxa for which no RNA editing is observed in the organelle transcripts. On the other hand, we found significant diversity of this type of PPR proteins also in Haplomitrium, a genus with an extremely high rate of RNA editing and a phylogenetic placement basal to all other liverworts. Although the presence of modularly extended PPR proteins correlates well with organelle RNA editing, the now apparent complete loss of an entire gene family from one clade of embryophytes, the marchantiid liverworts, remains puzzling.