Structure and function of plant RNAs

Type of instruction




Part of degree program


Recommended in

Semesters 1-4

Typically offered in

Autumn/Spring semester

Course description

1. The RNA world. Aspects and possibilities of classification of RNAs. Universal RNAs (common in living organisms). Special RNAs (restricted to groups of living organisms).

2. Primary structure of tRNAs. Proportion of major and minor nucleotides. Secondary and tertiary structure of tRNAs. Differences in the cytoplasmic, chloroplast and mitochondrial tRNA pool.

3. Posttranscriptional modifications of plant tRNAs. Classification of minor nucleotides. Structural characteristics and biosynthetic pathways of modifications of purin and pirimidin bases and ribose moiety. Role of modifications in the proper function of tRNAs. Special functions of plant tRNAs in biosynthetic and regulatory processes distinct from protein synthesis.

4. Ribosomal RNAs in plant cytolpasmic and organellar ribosomes. Similarities and differences in major and minor nucleotide composition, secondary and higher structures and functional domains. Types of RNAs of small and large ribosomal subunits in cytosol and organelles, and their function in ribosomal events during protein biosynthesis. Special types of plant organellar rRNAs (4.5S, 3S, 7S), their evolutionary relationship and function.

5. Structure and function of plant mRNAs in the cytosolyc and organellar protein biosynthesis. Similarities and differences in the organisation of genes, 5’ and 3’ primary and secondary structures and modifications. Roles of characteristic structural elements in stability, intermolecular connections and regulation during protein synthesis.

6. Structural characteristics of RNA component of signal recognition particle. The role of SRP RNA interaction of ribosome and SRP during protein synthesis and the secretion transport of proteins of endomembrane intracellular transport pathway. Structure and function of RNase P M1 RNA component in processing and maturation of different RNAs.

7. Structure of low molecular weight siRNAs and special ways of their synthesis in plant cells. Structure and function of enzyme complexes (DICER, RISC, RITS) participating in biosythesis. Role of siRNAs in transcriptional and posttranscriptional gene silencing. Virus induced silencing, cosupression.

8. Biosynthesis of miRNAs. Processing of primary transcipt (pri-miRNA) in the nucleus, transport from the nucleus and maturation in the cytosol. Structure and function of enzyme complexes of processing and maturation. The miRNA regulatory pathway (mRNA degradation, translational regulation).

9. Structure and function of antisense RNAs and hnRNAs. Structure and classification of catalytic RNS. Groups of ribozymes and types of catalysed reactions. Function and regulatory role of ribozymes in nucleic acid and protein biosynthesis and regulation.

10. Structure of transfer-messenger-RNA and its role in translation and protein degradation. Structural characteristics and the role in telomer synthesis of telomerase RNA component. Guide RNAs and their role in editing.

11. Structure and function of small nuclear RNAs and small nucleolar RNAs. Function of snRNAs and snoRNAs in splicing and posttranscriptional modifacation of RNAs. RNA viruses and structural organizations of virus genomes. Srtucture and pathogeny of viroids.

12. Enzymology of translation. Classes of DNA-dependent RNA polymerases. Structural characteristics and function in the transcription of different RNAs. Polymerases in the nucleus and in the organelles. RNA-dependent RNA polymerases, polyA polymerases.

13. Mechanism of transcription in the nucleus and in the organelles of plant cells. A növényi transzkripció mechanizmusa a citoplazmában és az organellumokban, Regulation of transcription (cis-elements, trans-factors). Transcription inhibitors.

14. Posttranscriptional modification of plant RNAs. Processing, maturation, modification of nucleotides in the polynucleotide chain and at the 5’ and 3’. Types of introns and mechanisms of splicing. Structure and function of sliceosomes. Functions and mechanisms of editing. Proteins and RNA-protein complexes in the posttranscriptional modification of RNAs.

15. Transport of RNAs as RNA-protein complexes from nucleus into cytoplasm. Classification, mechanisms of action and multiple functions of endonucleases and exonucleases.

  • Current reviews in Annual Review of Plant Sciences, - Biochemistry, - Cell Biology, - Genetics and Progress in Nucleic Acid Research and Molecular Biology