Characterization of the mitochondrial translation apparatus of Arabidopsis thaliana

Abstract : Ribosomes are the molecular machines translating the genetic information carried by mRNA into protein. Different translation machineries co-exist in eukaryote cells. While cytosolic translation is comparatively well characterized, it remains the most elusive step of gene expression in mitochondria. In plants, while numerous pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) proteins are involved in all steps of gene expression, their function in translation remains unclear. My work focused on the biochemical characterisation of Arabidopsis mitochondrial ribosomes and the identification of its protein composition. Complementary biochemical approaches identified 19 plant specific mitoribosome proteins, among which 10 are PPR proteins. The knock out mutations of ribosomal PPR (rPPR) genes result in distinct macroscopic phenotypes including lethality or severe growth delays. The molecular analysis of rPPR1 mutants, using ribosome profiling, as well as the analysis of mitochondrial protein levels, revealed that rPPR1 is a generic translation factor, which is a novel function for PPR proteins. Finally, single particle cryo-electron microscopy was used and revealed the unique structural architecture of Arabidopsis mitoribosomes, characterised by a very large small ribosomal subunit, larger than the large subunit, with a novel head domain. Overall, my results showed that Arabidopsis mitoribosomes are completely distinct from bacterial and other eukaryote mitoribosomes, both in terms of structure and of protein content.
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Florent Waltz. Characterization of the mitochondrial translation apparatus of Arabidopsis thaliana. Vegetal Biology. Université de Strasbourg, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018STRAJ087⟩. ⟨tel-02294276⟩

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