A new in vitro translation system for non-radioactive assay from tobacco chloroplasts: effect of pre-mRNA processing on translation in vitro

Plant J. 2007 Jan;49(2):367-76. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2006.02948.x. Epub 2006 Dec 6.


We previously developed an in vitro translation system derived from tobacco chloroplasts. Here, we report a significantly improved in vitro translation system. By modifying preparation procedures for chloroplast extracts and reaction conditions, we achieved 100-fold higher translation activity than the previous system. The new system does not require the supplement of Escherichia coli tRNAs due to the omission of micrococcal nuclease treatment, thus the tRNA population reflects the intrinsic tRNA population in tobacco chloroplasts. The rate of translation initiation from a variety of chloroplast mRNAs may be measured by monitoring the fluorescence intensity of synthesized green fluorescent protein, which is a non-radioactive detection method. Incorporation of an amino acid linked to a fluorescent dye also allows detection of the translation products in vitro. Using our new system, we found that mRNAs carrying unprocessed or processed atpH and rbcL 5'-UTRs were efficiently translated at similar rates, whereas translation of mRNAs with processed atpB and psbB 5'-UTRs was more efficient than those with unprocessed 5'-UTRs. These results suggest that the role of 5'-UTR processing in the regulation of chloroplast gene expression differs between mRNAs. The new in vitro translation system will be a powerful tool to investigate the mechanism of chloroplast mRNA translation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 5' Untranslated Regions / genetics
  • Chloroplasts / genetics*
  • Models, Genetic
  • Protein Biosynthesis / genetics*
  • RNA Precursors / genetics*
  • RNA Precursors / metabolism
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional
  • RNA, Chloroplast / genetics
  • RNA, Chloroplast / metabolism
  • RNA, Plant / genetics
  • RNA, Plant / metabolism
  • Tobacco / genetics*


  • 5' Untranslated Regions
  • RNA Precursors
  • RNA, Chloroplast
  • RNA, Plant