A long antisense RNA in plant chloroplasts


Author for correspondence:
Wolfgang R. Hess
Tel: +49 761 203 2796
Email: wolfgang.hess@biologie.uni-freiburg.de


  • Based on computational prediction of RNA secondary structures, a long antisense RNA (asRNA) was found in chloroplasts of Arabidopsis, Nicotiana tabacum and poplar, which occurs in two to three major transcripts.
  • Mapping of primary 5′ ends, northern hybridizations and quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) experiments demonstrated that these transcripts originate from a promoter that is typical for the plastid-encoded RNA polymerase and are over their full length in antisense orientation to the gene ndhB and therefore were designated asRNA_ndhB.
  • The asRNA_ndhB transcripts predominantly accumulate in young leaves and at physiological growth temperatures. Two nucleotide positions in the mRNA that are subject to C-to-U RNA editing and which were previously found to be sensitive to elevated temperatures are covered by asRNA_ndhB. Nevertheless, the correlation between the accumulation of asRNA_ndhB and RNA editing appeared weak in a temperature shift experiment.
  • With asRNA_ndhB, we describe the first asRNA of plant chloroplasts that covers RNA editing sites, as well as a group II intron splice acceptor site, and that is under developmental control, raising the possibility that long asRNAs could be involved in RNA maturation or the control of RNA stability.