Expression of complementary RNA from chloroplast transgenes affects editing efficiency of transgene and endogenous chloroplast transcripts

Nucleic Acids Res. 2005 Mar 8;33(5):1454-64. doi: 10.1093/nar/gki286. Print 2005.


The expression of angiosperm chloroplast genes is modified by C-to-U RNA editing. The mechanism for recognition of the approximately 30 C targets of editing is not understood. There is no single consensus sequence surrounding editing sites, though sites can be grouped into small 'clusters' of two to five sites exhibiting some sequence similarity. While complementary RNA that guides nucleotides for alteration has been detected in other RNA modification systems, it is not known whether complementary RNA is involved in chloroplast editing site recognition. We investigated the effect of expressing RNA antisense to the sequences -20 to +6 surrounding the RpoB-2 C target of editing, which is a member of a cluster that includes the PsbL-1 and Rps14-1 sites. Previous experiments had shown that chloroplast rpoB transgene transcripts carrying only these 27 nt were edited in vivo at the proper C. Though transcripts carrying sequences -31 to +60 surrounding the RpoB-2 sites were edited in chloroplast transgenic plants, transcripts carrying the -31 to +62 region followed by the 27 nt complementary region were not edited at all. In contrast, a similar construct, in which the C target as well as the preceding and subsequent nucleotides were mismatched within the 27 nt region, was efficiently edited. The presence of any of the four transgenes carrying RpoB-2 sequences in sense and/or antisense orientation resulted in reduced editing at the PsbL-1 site. Chloroplast transgenic plants expressing the three different antisense RNA constructs exhibited abnormal growth and development, though plants expressing the 92 nt sense transcripts were phenotypically normal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chloroplasts / genetics*
  • Chloroplasts / metabolism
  • Cytosine / metabolism
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases / genetics*
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Phenotype
  • Photosynthesis
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / anatomy & histology
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • RNA Editing*
  • RNA, Antisense / metabolism*
  • RNA, Complementary / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Tobacco / anatomy & histology
  • Tobacco / genetics
  • Tobacco / metabolism
  • Transgenes


  • RNA, Antisense
  • RNA, Complementary
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Cytosine
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases
  • RNA polymerase beta subunit