SOT1, a pentatricopeptide repeat protein with a small MutS-related domain, is required for correct processing of plastid 23S-4.5S rRNA precursors in Arabidopsis thaliana

Plant J. 2016 Mar;85(5):607-21. doi: 10.1111/tpj.13126.


Ribosomal RNA processing is essential for plastid ribosome biogenesis, but is still poorly understood in higher plants. Here, we show that SUPPRESSOR OF THYLAKOID FORMATION1 (SOT1), a plastid-localized pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) protein with a small MutS-related domain, is required for maturation of the 23S-4.5S rRNA dicistron. Loss of SOT1 function leads to slower chloroplast development, suppression of leaf variegation, and abnormal 23S and 4.5S processing. Predictions based on the PPR motif sequences identified the 5' end of the 23S-4.5S rRNA dicistronic precursor as a putative SOT1 binding site. This was confirmed by electrophoretic mobility shift assay, and by loss of the abundant small RNA 'footprint' associated with this site in sot1 mutants. We found that more than half of the 23S-4.5S rRNA dicistrons in sot1 mutants contain eroded and/or unprocessed 5' and 3' ends, and that the endonucleolytic cleavage product normally released from the 5' end of the precursor is absent in a sot1 null mutant. We postulate that SOT1 binding protects the 5' extremity of the 23S-4.5S rRNA dicistron from exonucleolytic attack, and favours formation of the RNA structure that allows endonucleolytic processing of its 5' and 3' ends.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; chloroplast; pentatricopeptide repeat protein; plastid ribosome; ribosomal RNA; small MutS-related domain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites / genetics
  • Blotting, Western
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Mutation
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Plastids / genetics*
  • Plastids / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA Precursors / genetics*
  • RNA Precursors / metabolism
  • RNA Processing, Post-Transcriptional
  • RNA, Ribosomal / genetics*
  • RNA, Ribosomal / metabolism
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 23S / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 23S / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • RNA Precursors
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 23S
  • pentatricopeptide repeat protein, Arabidopsis