Pentatricopeptide repeat proteins and their emerging roles in plants.
Several protein families with tandem repeat motifs play a very important role in plant development and defense. The pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) protein family, one of the largest families, is the most perplexing one in plants. PPR proteins have been implicated in many crucial functions broadly involving organelle biogenesis and plant development. PPR motifs are degenerate motifs, each with 35-amino-acid sequences and are present in tandem arrays of 2-27 repeats per protein. Although PPR proteins are found in other eukaryotes, their large number is probably required in plants to meet the specific needs of organellar gene expression. The repeats of PPR proteins form a superhelical structure to bind a specific ligand, probably a single-stranded RNA molecule, and modulate its expression. Functional studies on different PPR proteins have revealed their role in organellar RNA processing, fertility restoration in CMS plants, embryogenesis, and plant development. Functional genomic techniques can help identify the diverse roles of the PPR family of proteins in nucleus-organelle interaction and in plant development.