The pentatricopeptide repeat MTSF1 protein stabilizes the nad4 mRNA in Arabidopsis mitochondria

Nawel Haïli, Nadège Arnal, Martine Quadrado, Souad Amiar, Guillaume Tcherkez, Jennifer Dahan, Pierre Briozzo, Catherine Colas Des Francs-Small, Nathalie Vrielynck, Hakim Mireau*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


Gene expression in plant mitochondria involves a complex collaboration of transcription initiation and termination, as well as subsequent mRNA processing to produce mature mRNAs. In this study, we describe the function of the Arabidopsis mitochondrial stability factor 1 (MTSF1) gene and show that it encodes a pentatricopeptide repeat protein essential for the 3′-processing of mitochondrial nad4 mRNA and its stability. The nad4 mRNA is highly destabilized in Arabidopsis mtsf1 mutant plants, which consequently accumulates low amounts of a truncated form of respiratory complex I. Biochemical and genetic analyses demonstrated that MTSF1 binds with high affinity to the last 20 nucleotides of nad4 mRNA. Our data support a model for MTSF1 functioning in which its association with the last nucleotides of the nad4 3′ untranslated region stabilizes nad4 mRNA. Additionally, strict conservation of the MTSF1-binding sites strongly suggests that the protective function of MTSF1 on nad4 mRNA is conserved in dicots. These results demonstrate that the mRNA stabilization process initially identified in plastids, whereby proteins bound to RNA extremities constitute barriers to exoribonuclease progression occur in plant mitochondria to protect and concomitantly define the 3′ end of mature mitochondrial mRNAs. Our study also reveals that short RNA molecules corresponding to pentatricopeptide repeat-binding sites accumulate also in plant mitochondria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6650-6663
Number of pages14
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


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