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Analysis of the most relevant factors in the ability to import proteins encoded in nuclear DNA into the mitochondria in rice

This work is the result of the collaboration between the laboratories of Paul Christou (University of Lleida), Luis Rubio and Elena Caro (CBGP, UPM-INIA). The BNF Cereals Phase II project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, deals with the transfer of the bacterial genes necessary for nitrogen fixation to various cereal species, with the intention of obtaining crops with minimum fertilizer requirements and that produce higher yields. The main strategy that we use to solve the oxygen sensitivity of these proteins is to try to get them to accumulate in the mitochondria, the cellular organelle where oxygen is consumed and, therefore, where the most oxygen depleted environment is. The work referred to here is part of the detailed study of the signal peptides that direct the import of the proteins encoded in the nuclear DNA into the mitochondrial matrix. Our work reveals that in rice, the main factor that determines the effectiveness of a signal peptide import into the mitochondria is the presence of particular recognition motifs, and not the phylogenetic origin of the peptide itself. The results are extensible to both undifferentiated callus cells and to differentiated cells of the plants regenerated from them.

Original Paper:

Baysal, C., Pérez-González, A., Eseverri, Á., Jiang, X., Medina, V., Caro, E., Rubio, L., Christou, P., Zhu, C. 2019. Recognition motifs rather than phylogenetic origin influence the ability of targeting peptides to import nuclear-encoded recombinant proteins into rice mitochondria. Transgenic Research. DOI: 10.1007/s11248-019-00176-9

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