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Qi, Yafei; Armbruster, Ute; Schmitz-Linneweber, Christian; Delannoy, Etienne; Falcon de Longevialle, Andeol; Rühle, Thilo; Small, Ian; Jahns, Peter and Leister, Dario (2012): Arabidopsis CSP41 proteins form multimeric complexes that bind and stabilize distinct plastid transcripts. In: Journal of experimental botany, Vol. 63, No. 3: pp. 1251-1270 [PDF, 1MB]

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The spinach CSP41 protein has been shown to bind and cleave chloroplast RNA in vitro. Arabidopsis thaliana, like other photosynthetic eukaryotes, encodes two copies of this protein. Several functions have been described for CSP41 proteins in Arabidopsis, including roles in chloroplast rRNA metabolism and transcription. CSP41a and CSP41b interact physically, but it is not clear whether they have distinct functions. It is shown here that CSP41b, but not CSP41a, is an essential and major component of a specific subset of RNA-binding complexes that form in the dark and disassemble in the light. RNA immunoprecipitation and hybridization to gene chips (RIP-chip) experiments indicated that CSP41 complexes can contain chloroplast mRNAs coding for photosynthetic proteins and rRNAs (16S and 23S), but no tRNAs or mRNAs for ribosomal proteins. Leaves of plants lacking CSP41b showed decreased steady-state levels of CSP41 target RNAs, as well as decreased plastid transcription and translation rates. Representative target RNAs were less stable when incubated with broken chloroplasts devoid of CSP41 complexes, indicating that CSP41 proteins can stabilize target RNAs. Therefore, it is proposed that (i) CSP41 complexes may serve to stabilize non-translated target mRNAs and precursor rRNAs during the night when the translational machinery is less active in a manner responsive to the redox state of the chloroplast, and (ii) that the defects in translation and transcription in CSP41 protein-less mutants are secondary effects of the decreased transcript stability.

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