RNA editing in plants and its evolution

Annu Rev Genet. 2013;47:335-52. doi: 10.1146/annurev-genet-111212-133519.


RNA editing alters the identity of nucleotides in RNA molecules such that the information for a protein in the mRNA differs from the prediction of the genomic DNA. In chloroplasts and mitochondria of flowering plants, RNA editing changes C nucleotides to U nucleotides; in ferns and mosses, it also changes U to C. The approximately 500 editing sites in mitochondria and 40 editing sites in plastids of flowering plants are individually addressed by specific proteins, genes for which are amplified in plant species with organellar RNA editing. These proteins contain repeat elements that bind to cognate RNA sequence motifs just 5' to the edited nucleotide. In flowering plants, the site-specific proteins interact selectively with individual members of a different, smaller family of proteins. These latter proteins may be connectors between the site-specific proteins and the as yet unknown deaminating enzymatic activity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Codon / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Mitochondria / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / physiology
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Plastids / genetics
  • RNA Editing*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Plant / genetics*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Codon
  • Plant Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Plant