J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2020, Vol. 62 ›› Issue (3): 299-313.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12843

Special Issue: Development

• Functional Omics and Systems Biology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

DEK43 is a P-type pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) protein responsible for the Cis-splicing of nad4 in maize mitochondria

Ru Chang Ren, Li Li Wang, Lin Zhang, Ya Jie Zhao, Jia Wen Wu, Yi Ming Wei, Xian Sheng Zhang* and Xiang Yu Zhao*   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Crop Biology, College of Life Sciences, Shandong Agricultural University, Taian 271018, China

    These authors contributed equally to this work.
    Email: Xiang Yu Zhao (zhxy@sdau.edu.cn, Dr. Zhao is fully responsible for the distribution of all materials associated with this article.), Xian Sheng Zhang (zhangxs@sdau.edu.cn)
  • Received:2019-04-28 Accepted:2019-05-20 Online:2019-05-23 Published:2020-03-01


Mitochondria, the main energy transducers in plant cells, require the proper assembly of respiratory chain complexes I–V for their function. The NADH dehydrogenase 4 (nad4) gene encodes mitochondrial respiratory chain complex I subunit IV, but the mechanism underlying nad4 transcript splicing is unclear. Here, we report that the P‐type pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) protein DEFECTIVE KERNEL 43 (DEK43) is responsible for cis‐splicing of the nad4 transcript in maize. We demonstrate that DEK43 localizes to both the nucleus and mitochondria. The mutation of Dek43 resulted in embryo‐lethal and light‐colored defective kernels. Among the 22 mitochondrial group II introns, the splicing efficiency of nad4 introns 1 and 3 was reduced by up to 50% compared to the wild type. The levels of complex I and supercomplex I+III2 were also reduced in dek43. Furthermore, in‐gel NADH dehydrogenase assays indicated that the activities of these complexes were significantly reduced in dek43. Further, the mitochondrial ultrastructure was altered in the mutant. Together, our findings indicate that DEK43, a dual‐localized PPR protein, plays an important role in maintaining mitochondrial function and maize kernel development.

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