In the present study, we investigated protein characteristics and physiological functions of PRBP (plastid RNA-binding protein) in Nicotiana benthamiana. PRBP fused to green fluorescent protein (GFP) localized to the chloroplasts. Recombinant PRBP proteins bind to single-stranded RNA in vitro, but not to DNA in a double- or a single-stranded form. Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) of PRBP resulted in leaf yellowing in N. benthamiana. At the cellular level, PRBP depletion disrupted chloroplast biogenesis: chloroplast number and size were reduced, and the thylakoid membrane was poorly developed. In PRBP-silenced leaves, protein levels of plastid-encoded genes were significantly reduced, whereas their mRNA levels were normal regardless of their promoter types indicating that PRBP deficiency primarily affects translational or post-translational processes. Depletion of PRBP impaired processing of the plastid-encoded 4.5S ribosomal RNA, resulting in accumulation of the larger precursor rRNAs in the chloroplasts. In addition, PRBP-deficient chloroplasts contained significantly reduced levels of mature 4.5S and 5S rRNAs in the polysomal fractions, indicating decreased chloroplast translation. These results suggest that PRBP plays a role in chloroplast rRNA processing and chloroplast development in higher plants.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science