The ins and outs of editing and splicing of plastid RNAs: lessons from parasitic plants
In chloroplasts of higher plants, editing and splicing of transcripts is a prerequisite for the proper expression of the plastid genetic information and thereby for photosynthesis. Holoparasitic plants differ from photosynthetic plants in that they have abandoned a photoautotrophic life style, which has led to a reduction or loss of photosynthetic activity. The analysis of several parasitic plant plastid genomes revealed that coding capacities were reduced to different extent, encompassing genes that regulate plastid gene expression as well as photosynthesis genes. The reorganization of the plastid genome is also reflected in overall increases in point mutation rates that parallel the vanishing of RNA editing sites. Unprecedented in land plants is the parallel loss of the plastid gene coding for an intron maturase and all but one group IIa introns in two parasitic species. These observations highlight the plastome-wide effects that are associated with a relaxed evolutionary pressure in plants living a heterotrophic life style.
Journal: New Biotechnology - Volume 27, Issue 3, 31 July 2010, Pages 256–266