Systematic study of subcellular localization of Arabidopsis PPR proteins confirms a massive targeting to organelles

RNA Biol. 2013;10(9):1557-75. doi: 10.4161/rna.26128. Epub 2013 Aug 15.


Four hundred and fifty-eight genes coding for PentatricoPeptide Repeat (PPR) proteins are annotated in the Arabidopsis thaliana genome. Over the past 10 years, numerous reports have shown that many of these proteins function in organelles to target specific transcripts and are involved in post-transcriptional regulation. Therefore, they are thought to be important players in the coordination between nuclear and organelle genome expression. Only four of these proteins have been described to be addressed outside organelles, indicating that some PPRs could function in post-transcriptional regulations of nuclear genes. In this work, we updated and improved our current knowledge on the localization of PPR proteins of Arabidopsis within the plant cell. We particularly investigated the subcellular localization of 166 PPR proteins whose targeting predictions were ambiguous, using a combination of high-throughput cloning and microscopy. Through systematic localization experiments and data integration, we confirmed that PPR proteins are largely targeted to organelles and showed that dual targeting to both the mitochondria and plastid occurs more frequently than expected. These results allow us to speculate that dual-targeted PPR proteins could be important for the fine coordination of gene expressions in both organelles.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; PPR proteins; organelle genome expression; subcellular localization; targeting peptide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Organelles / metabolism*
  • Plastids / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • pentatricopeptide repeat protein, Arabidopsis