Plant Biotechnology Reports, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 289-295
The SpoU family of proteins catalyzes the methylation of transfer RNAs (tRNAs) and ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs). We characterized a putative tRNA/rRNA methyltransferase, VaSpoU1 of the SpoU family, from Viscum album (mistletoe). VaSpoU1 and other plant SpoU1s exhibit motifs of the SpoU methylase domain that are conserved with bacterial and yeast SpoU methyltransferases. VaSpoU1 transcripts were detected in the leaves and stems of V. album. VaSpoU1-GFP fusion proteins localized to both chloroplasts and mitochondria in Arabidopsis protoplasts. Sequence analysis similarly predicted that the plant SpoU1 proteins would localize to chloroplasts and mitochondria. Interestingly, mitochondrial localization of VaSpoU1 was inhibited by the deletion of a putative N-terminal presequence in Arabidopsis protoplasts. Therefore, VaSpoU1 may be involved in tRNA and/or rRNA methylation in both chloroplasts and mitochondria.