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Plant Mitochondrial RNA Editing

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RNA editing affects messenger RNAs and transfer RNAs in plant mitochondria by site-specific exchange of cytidine and uridine bases in both seed and nonseed plants. Distribution of the phenomenon among bryophytes has been unclear since RNA editing has been detected in some but not all liverworts and mosses. A more detailed understanding of RNA editing in plants required extended data sets for taxa and sequences investigated. Toward this aim an internal region of the mitochondrial nad5 gene (1104 nt) was analyzed in a large collection of bryophytes and green algae (Charales). The genomic nad5 sequences predict editing in 30 mosses, 2 hornworts, and 7 simple thalloid and leafy liverworts (Jungermanniidae). No editing is, however, required in seven species of the complex thalloid liverworts (Marchantiidae) and the algae. RNA editing among the Jungermanniidae, on the other hand, reaches frequencies of up to 6% of codons being modified. Predictability of RNA editing from the genomic sequences was confirmed by cDNA analysis in the mosses Schistostega pennata and Rhodobryum roseum, the hornworts Anthoceros husnotii and A. punctatus, and the liverworts Metzgeria conjugata and Moerckia flotoviana. All C-to-U nucleotide exchanges predicted to reestablish conserved codons were confirmed. Editing in the hornworts includes the removal of genomic stop codons by frequent reverse U-to-C edits. Expectedly, no RNA editing events were identified by cDNA analysis in the marchantiid liverworts Ricciocarpos natans, Corsinia coriandra, and Lunularia cruciata. The findings are discussed in relation to models on the phylogeny of land plants.

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Received: 2 April 1998 / Accepted: 4 August 1998

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Steinhauser, S., Beckert, S., Capesius, I. et al. Plant Mitochondrial RNA Editing. J Mol Evol 48, 303–312 (1999).

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