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How the protein transport machinery in the chloroplasts of higher plants developed
Date:1/15/2013

RNA. However, alongside SRP54 it also contains the protein SRP43, which occurs exclusively in chloroplasts. Scientists assume that chloroplasts originated from cyanobacteria, which initially lived in symbiosis with plant progenitor cells and were ultimately integrated into the plant cells. The scientists have now explored how the RNA-free SRP system of the chloroplasts originated from the RNA-containing SRP system of the bacteria.

Plant kingdom bioinformatically examined

With the aid of bioinformatics, the Bochum biologists and Dr. Magnus Rosenblad of Gothenburg University first examined which representatives in the plant kingdom have which components of the SRP system in their chloroplasts. "We were surprised that many organisms from unicellular green algae to mosses and ferns possess the gene for the SRP RNA in their chloroplasts", says Danja Schnemann. "The only exceptions are the higher plants, which have lost this gene". For them, the SRP system consists solely of the proteins SRP54 and SRP43. Interestingly though, SRP43 also occurs in the chloroplasts of lower plants, which are still equipped with SRP RNA.

SRP RNA in moss has partially lost its function

In collaboration with several groups of the Collaborative Research Centre SFB 642 at the RUB, Dr. Chantal Trger investigated the biochemistry of the moss Physcomitrella patens, which is among the lower plants. Physcomitrella has all the conceivable components of the SRP system in its chloroplasts: both the evolutionarily old components SRP54 and SRP RNA, as well as the more recent evolutionary protein SRP43. However, the SRP RNA of the moss chloroplasts forms a longer loop than the bacterial SRP RNA. This altered structure apparently prevents it from regulating the cleavage of GTP. Physcomitrella patens thus contains the evolutionarily old SRP RNA, which has largely lost certain functions. The SRP system of the chloroplasts of Physcomitrella p
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Contact: Prof. Dr. Danja Schnemann
danja.schuenemann@rub.de
49-234-322-4293
Ruhr-University Bochum
Source:Eurekalert

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