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, 69 (2), 302-16

The Plastid-Specific Ribosomal Proteins of Arabidopsis Thaliana Can Be Divided Into Non-Essential Proteins and Genuine Ribosomal Proteins

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The Plastid-Specific Ribosomal Proteins of Arabidopsis Thaliana Can Be Divided Into Non-Essential Proteins and Genuine Ribosomal Proteins

Nadine Tiller et al. Plant J.

Abstract

Plastid translation occurs on bacterial-type 70S ribosomes consisting of a large (50S) subunit and a small (30S) subunit. The vast majority of plastid ribosomal proteins have orthologs in bacteria. In addition, plastids also possess a small set of unique ribosomal proteins, so-called plastid-specific ribosomal proteins (PSRPs). The functions of these PSRPs are unknown, but, based on structural studies, it has been proposed that they may represent accessory proteins involved in translational regulation. Here we have investigated the functions of five PSRPs using reverse genetics in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. By analyzing T-DNA insertion mutants and RNAi lines, we show that three PSRPs display characteristics of genuine ribosomal proteins, in that down-regulation of their expression led to decreased accumulation of the 30S or 50S subunit of the plastid ribosomes, resulting in plastid translational deficiency. In contrast, two other PSRPs can be knocked out without visible or measurable phenotypic consequences. Our data suggest that PSRPs fall into two types: (i) PSRPs that have a structural role in the ribosome and are bona fide ribosomal proteins, and (ii) non-essential PSRPs that are not required for stable ribosome accumulation and translation under standard greenhouse conditions.

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