Post-transcriptional mechanisms in plant mitochondria
Project Leader// Prof. Dr. Kristina Kühn
Graduate// Theresa Schoeller
Institute of Biology
The complex post-transcriptional processes involved in mitochondrial gene expression largely depend on factors that are encoded in the nucleus and imported into mitochondria. These processes are still not fully understood at the molecular level. In mammals as well as in plants, members of the mitochondrial transcription termination factor (mTERF) family have been shown to play major roles in organellar gene expression (Kleine and Leister 2015). In the model plant organism Arabidopsis thaliana 35 mTERF proteins were identified. The function of only a few of these proteins has been investigated by recovering and studying mutant alleles so far (Hammani et al. 2014; Shevtsov et al. 2018; Xiong et al. 2019). In general the functions are still poorly understood. Therefore the project aims to enhance the overall understanding of mTERF protein functions and our knowledge on the control of mitochondrial functions by nucleus-encoded factors.
Two mitochondria-targeted mTERF proteins are focused in this project. In order to gain knowledge about the function of these specific mTERF proteins, the project addresses two main work packages regarding:
- Identification of the protein function of the selected mTERF proteins using reverse genetic approaches and functional studies
- Implementation of an optimized ribosome profiling assay for plant mitochondria