Halfway between bacteria and tree
Together with colleagues from Sweden, RUB researchers have studied how the protein transport system of bacteria developed over time to form the system in the chloroplasts of higher plants. They explored the so-called signal recognition particles (SRP) and their receptors. Bioinformatic and biochemical analyses revealed that the moss Physcomitrella patens has evolutionarily old and new components of the SRP system, and thus represents an intermediate stage in the development from the bacterial transport system to the chloroplast system in higher plants.
The international team led by Prof. Dr. Danja Schünemann and Dr. Chantal Träger from the Working Group Molecular Biology of Plant Organelles at the Ruhr-Universität reported in the journal The Plant Cell.
SRP RNA in moss has partially lost its function
In collaboration with several groups of the Collaborative Research Centre SFB 642 at the RUB, Dr. Chantal Träger investigated the biochemistry of the moss Physcomitrella patens, which is among the lower plants. Physcomitrella has all the conceivable components of the SRP system in its chloroplasts: both the evolutionarily old components SRP54 and SRP RNA, as well as the more recent evolutionary protein SRP43. However, the SRP RNA of the moss chloroplasts forms a longer loop than the bacterial SRP RNA. This altered structure apparently prevents it from regulating the cleavage of GTP. Physcomitrella patens thus contains the evolutionarily old SRP RNA, which has largely lost certain functions. The SRP system of the chloroplasts of Physcomitrella patens therefore represents the transition between bacteria and higher plants. An X-ray structure analysis also revealed that the SRP receptor (FtsY) of the moss already has properties of the protein of higher plants.
Two figures related to this press release can be found online at: http://aktuell.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/pm2013/pm00008.html.enFurther information
Dr. Chantal Träger, Working Group Molecular Biology of Plant Organelles, Ruhr-Universität, 44780 Bochum, Germany, Tel. +49234/32-29341, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgBibliographic record
Editor: Dr. Julia Weiler
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