We have analyzed 67 sequences surrounding transcription initiation sites identified in higher plant mitochondria. The sequences were classified, independently for monocots and dicots, according to the presence of the CRTA core element found upstream of the first transcribed nucleotide and previously reported as an essential element of plant mitochondrial consensus promoters. This compilation provides new elements concerning the structure of consensus promoters and the relative importance of non-conserved promoters in plant mitochondria. It can be emphasized that promoter regions exhibit several differences between monocot and dicot mitochondria, presumably reflecting a divergent evolution: The sequences classified among consensus promoters as well as the distance between the first transcribed nucleotide and the core element are highly conserved in dicots while more plasticity is observed in monocots. It also appears that the proportion of promoters with neither the conserved promoter sequence nor any conserved motif is far greater in dicots than in monocots.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.