Regulation of rDNA transcription in chloroplasts: Promoter exclusion by constitutive repression

Rabah Iratni, Laurence Baeza, Alexandra Andreeva, Régis Mache, Silva Lerbs-Mache

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Spinach chloroplasts contain two types of RNA polymerases. One is multimeric and Escherichia coli-like. The other one is not E. coli-like and might represent a monomeric enzyme of 110 kD. The quantitative relation of the two polymerases changes during plant development. This raises the question, how are plastid genes transcribed that contain E. coli-like and non-E. coli-like promoter elements during developmental phases when both enzymes are present? Transcription of the spinach plastid rrn operon promoter is initiated at three sites: P1, PC, and P2. P1 and P2 are preceded by E. coli-like promoter elements that are recognized by E. coli RNA polymerase in vitro. However, in vivo, transcription starts exclusively at PC. We analyzed different promoter constructions using in vitro transcription and gel mobility-shift studies to understand why P1 and P2 are not used in vivo. Our results suggest that the sequence-specific DNA-binding factor CDF2 functions as a repressor for transcription initiation of the E. coli-like enzyme at P1 and P2. We propose a mechanism of constitutive repression to keep the rrn operon in all developmental phases under the transcriptional control of the non-E. coli-like RNA polymerase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2928-2938
Number of pages11
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Chloroplast
  • rDNA
  • repression
  • transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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