Tracking the elusive 5' exonuclease activity of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii RNase J.

Liponska A, Jamalli A, Kuras R, Suay L, Garbe E, Wollman FA, Laalami S, Putzer H (2018) Tracking the elusive 5' exonuclease activity of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii RNase J. Plant Mol Biol 96(6), 641-653.


Chlamydomonas RNase J is the first member of this enzyme family that has endo- but no intrinsic 5' exoribonucleolytic activity. This questions its proposed role in chloroplast mRNA maturation. RNA maturation and stability in the chloroplast are controlled by nuclear-encoded ribonucleases and RNA binding proteins. Notably, mRNA 5' end maturation is thought to be achieved by the combined action of a 5' exoribonuclease and specific pentatricopeptide repeat proteins (PPR) that block the progression of the nuclease. In Arabidopsis the 5' exo- and endoribonuclease RNase J has been implicated in this process. Here, we verified the chloroplast localization of the orthologous Chlamydomonas (Cr) RNase J and studied its activity, both in vitro and in vivo in a heterologous B. subtilis system. Our data show that Cr RNase J has endo- but no significant intrinsic 5' exonuclease activity that would be compatible with its proposed role in mRNA maturation. This is the first example of an RNase J ortholog that does not possess a 5' exonuclease activity. A yeast two-hybrid screen revealed a number of potential interaction partners but three of the most promising candidates tested, failed to induce the latent exonuclease activity of Cr RNase J. We still favor the hypothesis that Cr RNase J plays an important role in RNA metabolism, but our findings suggest that it rather acts as an endoribonuclease in the chloroplast.


Enrico Garbe


doi: 10.1007/s11103-018-0720-2

PMID: 29600502