RNA editing by cytidine (C) to uridine (U) conversions is widespread in plant mitochondria and chloroplasts. In some plant taxa, “reverse” U-to-C editing also occurs. However, to date, no instance of RNA editing has yet been reported in green algae and the complex thalloid liverworts. RNA editing may have evolved in early land plants 450 million years ago. However, in some plant species, including the liverwort, Marchantia polymorpha
, editing may have been lost during evolution. Most RNA editing events can restore the evolutionarily conserved amino acid residues in mRNAs or create translation start and stop codons. Therefore, RNA editing is an essential process to maintain genetic information at the RNA level. Individual RNA editing sites are recognized by plant-specific pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) proteins that are encoded in the nuclear genome. These PPR proteins are characterized by repeat elements that bind specifically to RNA sequences upstream of target editing sites. In flowering plants, non-PPR proteins also participate in multiple RNA editing events as auxiliary factors. C-to-U editing can be explained by cytidine deamination. The proteins discovered to date are important factors for RNA editing but a bona fide
RNA editing enzyme has yet to be identified.
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