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Paieri, Francesca; Tadini, Luca; Manavski, Nikolay; Kleine, Tatjana; Ferrari, Roberto; Morandini, Piero; Pesaresi, Paolo; Meurer, Jörg; Leister, Dario (2018): The DEAD-box RNA Helicase RH50 Is a 23S-4.5S rRNA Maturation Factor that Functionally Overlaps with the Plastid Signaling Factor GUN1. In: Plant Physiology, Vol. 176, No. 1: pp. 634-648
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DEAD-box RNA helicases (DBRHs) modulate RNA secondary structure, allowing RNA molecules to adopt the conformations required for interaction with their target proteins. RH50 is a chloroplast-located DBRH that colocalizes and is coexpressed with GUN1, a central factor in chloroplast-to-nucleus signaling. When combined with mutations that impair plastid gene expression (prors1-1, prpl11-1, prps1-1, prps21-1, prps17-1, and prpl24-1), rh50 and gun1 mutations evoke similar patterns of epistatic effects. These observations, together with the synergistic growth phenotype of the double mutant rh50-1 gun1-102, suggest that RH50 and GUN1 are functionally related and that this function is associated with plastid gene expression, in particular ribosome functioning. However, rh50-1 itself is not a gun mutant, although-like gun1-102-the rh50-1 mutation suppresses the downregulation of nuclear genes for photosynthesis induced by the prors1-1 mutation. The RH50 protein comigrates with ribosomal particles, and is required for efficient translation of plastid proteins. RH50 binds to transcripts of the 23S-4.5S intergenic region and, in its absence, levels of the corresponding rRNA processing intermediate are strongly increased, implying that RH50 is required for the maturation of the 23S and 4.5S rRNAs. This inference is supported by the finding that loss of RH50 renders chloroplast protein synthesis sensitive to erythromycin and exposure to cold. Based on these results, we conclude that RH50 is a plastid rRNA maturation factor.