An extraordinary variation in mitochondrial DNA sequence exists in angiosperm Silene vulgaris. The atp1 gene is flanked by very variable regions, as deduced from four completely sequenced mitochondrial genomes of this species. This diversity contributed to a highly variable transcript profile of this gene observed across S. vulgaris populations. We examined the atp1 transcript in the KOV mitochondrial genome and found three 5′ ends, created most likely by the combination of transcription initiation and RNA processing. Most atp1 transcripts terminated about 70 bp upstream of the translation stop codon, which was present in only 10 % of them. Controlled crosses between a KOV mother and a geographically distant pollen donor (Krasnoyarsk, Russia) showed that nuclear background also affected atp1 transcription. The distant pollen donor introduced the factor(s) preventing the formation of a long 2,100 nt-transcript, because this long atp1 transcript reappeared in the progeny from self-crosses. The highly rearranged mitochondrial genomes with a variation in gene flanking regions make S. vulgaris an excellent model for the study of mitochondrial gene expression in plants.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 30, 2013
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