Plant organellar RNA editing: what 30 years of research has revealed

Plant J. 2020 Mar;101(5):1040-1056. doi: 10.1111/tpj.14578. Epub 2019 Dec 12.


The central dogma in biology defines the flow of genetic information from DNA to RNA to protein. Accordingly, RNA molecules generally accurately follow the sequences of the genes from which they are transcribed. This rule is transgressed by RNA editing, which creates RNA products that differ from their DNA templates. Analyses of the RNA landscapes of terrestrial plants have indicated that RNA editing (in the form of C-U base transitions) is highly prevalent within organelles (that is, mitochondria and chloroplasts). Numerous C→U conversions (and in some plants also U→C) alter the coding sequences of many of the organellar transcripts and can also produce translatable mRNAs by creating AUG start sites or eliminating premature stop codons, or affect the RNA structure, influence splicing and alter the stability of RNAs. RNA-binding proteins are at the heart of post-transcriptional RNA expression. The C-to-U RNA editing process in plant mitochondria involves numerous nuclear-encoded factors, many of which have been identified as pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) proteins that target editing sites in a sequence-specific manner. In this review we report on major discoveries on RNA editing in plant organelles, since it was first documented 30 years ago.

Keywords: RNA editing; chloroplasts; cytidine deamination; mitochondria; pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) proteins.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Nucleus / genetics
  • Chloroplasts / genetics
  • Mitochondria / genetics
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Plants / metabolism
  • RNA Editing*
  • RNA, Plant / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics


  • RNA, Plant
  • RNA-Binding Proteins