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Free Content A single base change prevents import of cytosolic tRNAAla into mitochondria in transgenic plants

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Plant mitochondria do not contain a full set of tRNA genes, and the additional tRNAs needed for protein synthesis (including tRNAAla) are imported from the cytosol. The import process appears to be highly specific for certain tRNAs, and it has been suggested that the cognate aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases may be responsible for this specificity. In order to test this, we have grown transgenic tobacco plants expressing Arabidopsis thaliana tRNAAla carrying a U70 to C70 mutation, which we have previously shown blocks aminoacylation by the plant alanyl-tRNA synthetase. Unlike the wild-type tRNAAla, the mutant tRNA is not present in the mitochondrial tRNA fraction. This is the first report of a tRNA mutation which prevents mitochondrial import and strongly supports the hypothesis that aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases are involved in this process in plants. Insertion of four bases into the anticodon loop of tRNAAla does not prevent mitochondrial import, implying that the tRNA might not need to participate in translation to be imported.
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Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: 1: Institut de Biologie Moléculaire des Plantes du CNRS, Université Louis Pasteur, 12 rue du Général Zimmer, F-67084 Strasbourg-Cedex, France 2: Station de Génétique et d’Amélioration des Plantes, INRA, Route de St-Cyr, 78026 Versailles-Cedex, France

Publication date: November 1, 1996

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