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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Transcriptional regulation and DNA methylation in plastids during transitional conversion of chloroplasts to chromoplasts.

During transitional conversion of chloroplasts to chromoplasts in ripening tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) fruits, transcripts for several plastid genes for photosynthesis decreased to undetectable levels. Run-on transcription of plastids indicated that transcriptional regulation operated as a predominant factor. We found that most of the genes in chloroplasts were actively transcribed in vitro by Escherichia coli and soluble plastid RNA polymerases, but some genes in chromoplasts seemed to be silent when assayed by the in vitro systems. The regulatory step, therefore, was ascribed to DNA templates. The analysis of modified base composition revealed the presence of methylated bases in chromoplast DNA, in which 5-methylcytosine was most abundant. The presence of 5-methylcytosine detected by isoschizomeric endonucleases and Southern hybridization was correlated with the undetectable transcription activity of each gene in the run-on assay and in vitro transcription experiments. It is thus concluded that the suppression of transcription mediated by DNA methylation is one of the mechanisms governing gene expression in plastids converting from chloroplasts to chromoplasts.[1]


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