Research Summary: The RNA Editing Pattern of cox2 mRNA Is Affected by Point Mutations in Plant Mitochondria
The mitochondrial transcriptome from land plants undergoes hundreds of specific C-to-U changes by RNA editing. These events are important since most of them occur in the coding region of mRNAs. One challenging question is to understand the mechanism of recognition of a selected C residue (editing sites) on the transcript. It has been reported that a short region surrounding the target C forms the cis-recognition elements, but individual residues on it do not play similar roles for the different editing sites. Here, we studied the role of the −1 and +1 nucleotide in wheat cox2 editing site recognition using an in organello approach. We found that four different recognition patterns can be distinguished: (a) +1 dependency, (b) −1 dependency, (c) +1/−1 dependency, and (d) no dependency on nearest neighbor residues. A striking observation was that whereas a 23 nt cis region is necessary for editing, some mutants affect the editing efficiency of unmodified distant sites. As a rule, mutations or pre-edited variants of the transcript have an impact on the complete set of editing targets. When some Cs were changed into Us, the remaining editing sites presented a higher efficiency of C-to-U conversion than in wild type mRNA. Our data suggest that the complex response observed for cox2 mRNA may be a consequence of the fate of the transcript during mitochondrial gene expression.