Green fluorescent protein as a marker to investigate targeting of organellar RNA polymerases of higher plants in vivo

Plant J. 1999 Mar;17(5):557-61. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.1999.00393.x.


The recent identification of phage-type RNA polymerases encoded in the nuclear genome of higher plants has provided circumstantial evidence for functioning of these polymerases in the transcription of the mitochondrial and plastid genomes, as demonstrated by sequence analysis and in vitro import experiments. To determine the subcellular localization of the phage-type organellar RNA polymerases in plants, the putative transit peptides of the RNA polymerases RpoT;1 and RpoT;3 from Arabidopsis thaliana and RpoT from Chenopodium album were fused to the coding sequence of a green fluorescent protein (GFP). The constructs were used to stably transform A. thaliana. Transgenic plants were examined for green fluorescence with epifluorescence and confocal laser scanning microscopy. Plants expressing the GFP fusions under control of the CaMV35S promoter exhibited a distinct subcellular localization of the GFP fluorescence for each of the fusion constructs. In plants expressing GFP fusions with the putative transit peptides of ARAth;RpoT;1 and CHEal;RpoT, fluorescence was found exclusively in mitochondria, both in root and leaf cells. In contrast, GFP fluorescence in plants expressing the ARAth;RpoT;3-GFP construct accumulated in chloroplasts of leaf cells and nongreen plastids (leucoplasts) of root cells. By demonstrating targeting in plants, the data add substantial evidence for the phage-type RNA polymerases from C. album and A. thaliana to function in the transcriptional machinery of mitochondria and plastids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / enzymology*
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases / genetics*
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases / metabolism
  • Genetic Markers*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics*
  • Organelles / enzymology*


  • Genetic Markers
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases