The pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) protein family is involved in various steps of RNA metabolism in plastids and mitochondria. To investigate the function of a DYW sub-class PPR protein in the moss Physcomitrella patens, we constructed and characterized knockout mutants of the PpPPR_43 gene, which encodes a mitochondrial localized PPR protein with a C-terminal DYW domain. The disruptants showed poor growth of moss protonemata. To investigate whether mitochondrial transcripts were affected by disruption of PpPPR_43, we sequenced the cDNA to detect RNA editing events and performed RT-PCR analyses to measure steady-state mitochondrial transcript levels. Disruption of PpPPR_43 did not result in defective RNA editing, but a substantial reduction in the level of mature cox1 transcript was observed in the disruptants. RT-PCR analysis showed that the 3rd intron of cox1 pre-mRNA was not spliced out in the disruptants, but the 1st, 2nd and 4th introns were efficiently spliced out. This suggests that PpPPR_43 is an intron 3-specific splicing factor. The role of the C-terminal domains of PpPPR_43 in intron 3 splicing was analyzed by complementation experiments with truncated constructs lacking the DYW domain or both the E and DYW domains. Both truncated genes completely restored splicing in the PpPPR_43 knockout mutant. This indicates that the E and DYW domains of PpPPR_43 are not required for splicing, and can be deleted without loss of cox1 intron 3 splicing.
© 2011 The Authors. The Plant Journal © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.