Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract RNA b is the most abundant member of a family of autonomously replicating single- and double-stranded RNA plasmids found in maize mitochondria. The extent to which this molecule is associated with proteins was investigated by rate zonal and CsCl equilibrium density gradient centrifugation of clarified lysates of S cytoplasm maize mitochondria. A soluble complex of RNA b, responsible for synthesis of the more abundant (+) RNA b strand in mitochondrial lysates, was identified. The complex had a buoyant density of 1.49 g/cm3, indicating a substantial non-nucleic acids content. The sedimentation coefficient of the complex, however, was only slightly larger than that of deproteinized RNA b. Synthesis of RNA b as well as the larger RNA plasmid, RNA a, was resistant to heparin, suggesting that, for both RNAs, preformed complexes between an RNA template and an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase capable of elongating in vivo preinitiated RNA plasmid strands, were present in the lysate. Only a small fraction of RNA b molecules were bound in the complex; the bulk of RNA b sedimented at the same rate as the deproteinized RNA. Thus, after replication, maize mitochondrial plasmids are not associated with nucleoprotein capsids although their synthesis takes place through ribonucleoprotein replication complexes.
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