Spinach CSP41 is part of a protein complex that binds to the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of petD precursor-mRNA, a chloroplast gene encoding subunit IV of the cytochrome b6/f complex. CSP41 cleaves the 3'-UTR of petD mRNA within the stem-loop structure, suggesting a key role in the control of chloroplast mRNA stability. We discovered that CSP41 is homologous to nucleotide-sugar epimerases and hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases while seeking distant homologs of these enzymes with a hidden Markov model-based search of Genpept. This analysis identified Synechocystis ORF, Accession 1652543 as a homolog. Subsequent analyses show that spinach CSP41 and Arabidopsis thaliana 2765081 are homologous to the Synechocystis ORF. Information from the solved 3D structures of epimerases and dehydrogenases and our motif analysis of these enzymes is used to predict domains on CSP41 that are important in binding and metabolism of mRNA. Cyanobacteria are among the earliest life forms, indicating that the divergence from a common ancestor of nucleotide-sugar epimerases and an mRNA binding protein with ribonuclease activity was ancient.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press.