Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 106, Issue 1, pp 89–99 | Cite as

Organization and post-transcriptional modification of mitochondrial genes in higher plants

  • Koh-ichi Kadowaki
JPR Symposium


Recent topics regarding higher plant mitochondria are briefly reviewed, such as gene organization, the genes associated with mutants, and the maturation of transcripts. The estimated genome size of higher plant mitochondrial DNA varies from about 200 kb to 2,500 kb. Most of the mitochondrial genomes are organized as complex multiple circular molecules, generated from recombinations between repeated sequences. Several protein-encoding genes unique to plant mitochondria are identified but gene contents are not identical among the plant species. Gene transfer of cytochrome oxidase subunit II, generally mitochondrially encoded gene, is found to move from mitochondrion to nucleus via RNA molecules and the event is limited in a single genus of legume. Genes associated with mitochondrial mutants, CMS-T and NCS3, are isolated and characterized in detail. Plant mitochondria have two types of notable post-transcriptional RNA modifications. One is RNA editing that alters a cytidine residue in DNA to a uridine residue in RNA, and results in an evolutionally more conservative polypeptide. The other istrans-splicing of transcripts of NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 and 5 genes, that fuses the physically scattered mRNAs and makes a mature mRNA.

Key words

Gene organization Gene transfer Mitochondrial mutants Mitochondrion Transcript modification 


(atpA, atp6 andatp9)

ATPase subunit α, 6, and 9 genes

(coxI andcoxII)

cytochrome oxidase subunit I and II genes




cytoplasmic male sterillity


Escherichia coli

(nad1 andnad5)

NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 and 5 genes

(NCS3 and NCS5)

nonchromosomal stripe mutants 3 and 5

(Rf1 andRf2)

restorer fertillity 1 and 2 genes


26S ribosomal RNA gene

(rps3,rps13, andrpl16)

ribosomal protein S3, S13, and L16 genes




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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Koh-ichi Kadowaki
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular BiologyNational Institute of Agrobiological ResourcesTsukubaJapan

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