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

5' sequences are important positive and negative determinants of the longevity of Chlamydomonas chloroplast gene transcripts.

We have found that sequences in the 5' leader of the Chlamydomonas chloroplast rbcL gene, when fused 5' to foreign genes, destabilize transcripts of these chimeric genes in the chloroplast of transgenic Chlamydomonas but that 5' sequences of the rbcL structural gene prevent this destabilization. Transcripts of the chloroplast rbcL gene are about equally abundant at all times in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii growing on an alternating 12-h light/12-h dark cycle. However, Chlamydomonas chloroplast transformants, harboring chimeric genes containing the same rbcL promoter with 63 or 92 bp of the rbcL 5' leader sequence fused upstream of the Escherichia coli uidA (beta-glucuronidase, GUS) gene, accumulated GUS transcripts only in the dark. Transcripts disappeared rapidly upon illumination of the cells. The same phenomenon was exhibited by transcripts of chimeric genes in which the GUS gene coding sequence was replaced by other unrelated genes. The precipitous light-induced drop in GUS transcript abundance was found to be due to an approximately 16-fold increase in the rate of degradation of GUS transcripts in light rather than to a decrease in the rate of transcription of the GUS gene. Transcripts of a chimeric rbcL-GUS construct in which the leader sequence of the rbcL gene was replaced by 103 bp of the leader sequence of the atpB gene were stable in illuminated cells. The destabilizing effect of the rbcL 5' leader sequence was reversed by adding 257 bp of the 5' coding region of the rbcL gene. The results show that chloroplast transcript levels in illuminated Chlamydomonas cells--and perhaps in other cases--can be determined, at least to some extent, by sequences and interactions of sequences transcribed from the 5' ends of genes.[1]


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