Published on Jan. 1, 2010 in Plant J volume 61.
PubMed ID: 19929881
S-adenosyl-L-methionine-dependent rRNA dimethylases mediate the methylation of two conserved adenosines near the 3' end of the rRNA in the small ribosomal subunits of bacteria, archaea and eukaryotes. Proteins related to this family of dimethylases play an essential role as transcription factors (mtTFBs) in fungal and animal mitochondria. Human mitochondrial rRNA is methylated and human mitochondria contain two related mtTFBs, one proposed to act as rRNA dimethylase, the other as transcription factor. The nuclear genome of Arabidopsis thaliana encodes three dimethylase/mtTFB-like proteins, one of which, Dim1B, is shown here to be imported into mitochondria. Transcription initiation by mitochondrial RNA polymerases appears not to be stimulated by Dim1B in vitro. In line with this finding, phylogenetic analyses revealed Dim1B to be more closely related to a group of eukaryotic non-mitochondrial rRNA dimethylases (Dim1s) than to fungal and animal mtTFBs. We found that Dim1B was capable of substituting the E. coli rRNA dimethylase activity of KsgA. Moreover, we observed methylation of the conserved adenines in the 18S rRNA of Arabidopsis mitochondria; this modification was not detectable in a mutant lacking Dim1B. These data provide evidence: (i) for rRNA methylation in Arabidopsis mitochondria; and (ii) that Dim1B is the enzyme catalyzing this process.