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

The psaA operon pre-mRNA of the Euglena gracilis chloroplast is processed into photosystem I and II mRNAs that accumulate differentially depending on the conditions of cell growth.

The chloroplast genome of Euglena gracilis contains a psaA operon which encodes a lysine tRNA gene, trnK; psaA and psaB photosystem I genes, and psbE, psbF, psbL and psbJ photosystem II genes. The pre-mRNA of the psaA operon undergoes a complex processing pathway of 5' and 3' tRNA processing, splicing of 11 group II introns and one group II twintron, plus three intercistronic RNA cleavage events. The accumulated transcripts of the psaA operon have been characterized by Northern hybridization, S1 nuclease analysis and primer extension RNA sequencing. The mature 5' end of the psaA-psaB-psbE-psbF-psbL-psbJ hexacistronic transcript lies 8 nt downstream of the trnK gene, and is the result of intercistronic trnK-psaA cleavage. Other intercistronic processing events occur between the psaA and psaB genes and the psaB and psbE genes. Processing at the latter site produces a dicistronic mRNA of PSI genes and a tetracistronic mRNA of PSII genes. The PSI dicistronic transcript is further processed to monocistronic psaA and psaB mRNAs. Secondary structural motifs within the intercistronic regions may be recognition sites for processing. The steady-state levels of psaA operon mRNAs from Euglena grown under several different conditions have been determined. Accumulated transcripts from all growth conditions are spliced, and a proportion are also processed at the intercistronic sites. The products of intercistronic processing increase from heterotrophic dark- to heterotrophic light-grown Euglena, and from heterotrophic light- to photoautotrophic light-grown Euglena. The differential accumulation of psaA operon mRNAs may be a means of chloroplast gene regulation or, alternatively, a consequence of gene expression during chloroplast development.[1]


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