Organellar gene expression (OGE) is crucial for plant development and photosynthesis, but most of the mechanisms that control it are still unclear. Thus, OGE requires various nucleus-encoded proteins that promote various steps of OGE – from transcription to post-translational processes. Among them are proteins from the “mitochondrial transcription termination factor” (mTERF) family. Animals contain four mTERFs, but in plants, the mTERF family has expanded to approximately 30 members. Still, the knowledge of mTERF functions in plants remains sparse. However, we have shown that the knock-out mterf6 mutant is seedling lethal and that mTERF6 targets a chloroplast tRNA such that aminoacylation of this tRNA and chloroplast translation is greatly reduced. Currently, we are aiming at an even deeper molecular characterization of mTERF6 and its putative interaction partners. A second focus is on the identification and characterization of other mTERF proteins presumably functioning in the chloroplast.
Target of mTERF6
Example of an mTERF-GFP fusion protein which is localized to chloroplast nucleoids, the location of OGE
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