Letter | Published:

Major mRNA species from spinach chloroplasts do not contain poly(A)

Naturevolume 257pages6667 (1975) | Download Citation



POLY(A) is a constituent of most animal cytoplasmic mRNAs1,2 and has been demonstrated in rapidly-labelled, polysomal RNA in plants3,4. Verma et al.5 have shown that cellulase mRNA, isolated from auxin-treated pea epicotyls, contains poly(A). Although a significant proportion of eukaryotic polysomal mRNAs are known to lack poly(A)6–8, the presence of poly(A) is still regarded as a characteristic feature of unfractionated preparations of eukaryotic mRNA. By contrast, poly(A) has not been detected in mRNA from prokaryotic cells8. Several reports9–11 have indicated that poly(A) is present in HeLa cell mitochondrial RNA, although Groot et al.12 were unable to detect poly(A) in yeast mitochondrial RNA. Here we describe experiments in which we have assayed for the presence of poly(A) in spinach chloroplast RNA by two methods; (1) hybridisation of chloroplast RNA with 3H-poly(U) and (2) binding of chloroplast RNA, pulse-labelled in vivo, to oligo(dT) cellulose. Additionally, the mRNA activities of chloroplast poly(A)-containing RNA and non-poly(A)-containing RNA (hereafter referred to as poly(A)+ RNA and poly(A) RNA respectively) have been investigated by measuring their translation into specific polypeptides in cell-free extracts from Escherichia coli. From the results, we conclude that chloroplast mRNA lacks poly (A).

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Lee, Y., Mendecki, J., and Bawerman, G., Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 68, 1331–1335 (1971).

  2. 2

    Edmonds, M. P., Vaughan, M. H., and Nakazato, H., Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 68, 1336–1340 (1971).

  3. 3

    Higgins, T. J. V., Mercer, J. F. B., and Goodwin, P. B., Nature new Biol., 246, 68–69 (1973).

  4. 4

    Sagher, D., Edelman, M., and Jacob, K. M., Biochim. biophys. Acta, 349, 32–38 (1974).

  5. 5

    Verma, D. P. S., Machlachlan, G. A., Byrne, H., and Ewings, D., J. biol. Chem., 250, 1019–1026 (1975).

  6. 6

    Adesnik, M., and Darnell, J. E., J. molec. Biol., 67, 397–406 (1972).

  7. 7

    Nemer, M., Graham, M., and Dulroff, L. M., J. molec. Biol., 89, 435–454 (1974).

  8. 8

    Perry, R. P., Kelley, D. E., and La Torre, J., Biochem. biophys. Res. Commun., 48, 1593–1600 (1972).

  9. 9

    Perlman, S., Abelson, H. T., and Penman, S., Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 70, 350–353 (1973).

  10. 10

    Hirsch, M., and Penman, S., J. molec. Biol., 80, 379–391 (1973).

  11. 11

    Ojala, D., and Attardi, G., J. molec. Biol., 82, 151–174 (1974).

  12. 12

    Groot, G. S. P., Flavell, R. A., Van Ommen, G. J. B., and Grivell, L. A., Nature, 252, 167–169 (1974).

  13. 13

    Gillespie, D., Marshall, S., and Gallo, R. C., Nature new Biol., 236, 227–231 (1971).

  14. 14

    Hartley, M. R., and Ellis, R. J., Biochem. J., 134, 249–262 (1973).

  15. 15

    Hartley, M. R., Wheeler, A., and Ellis, R. J., J. molec. Biol., 91, 67–77 (1975).

  16. 16

    Eaton, M. A. W., and Hutchinson, D. W., Biochemistry, 11, 3162–3167 (1972).

  17. 17

    Avery, R. J., thesis, Univ. Newcastle (1969).

  18. 18

    Clegg, J. C. S., and Kennedy, S. I. T., J. gen. Virol., 22, 331–345 (1974).

  19. 19

    Williamson, R., Crosley, J., and Humphries, S., Biochemistry, 13, 702–707 (1974).

  20. 20

    Munoz, R. F., and Darnell, J. E., Cell, 2, 247–252 (1974).

Download references

Author information


  1. Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK

    • A. M. WHEELER
    •  & M. R. HARTLEY


  1. Search for A. M. WHEELER in:

  2. Search for M. R. HARTLEY in:

About this article

Publication history



Issue Date



Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.