One RNA polymerase serving two genomes.
The land plant Arabidopsis thaliana contains three closely related nuclear genes encoding phage-type RNA polymerases (RpoT;1, RpoT;2 and RpoT;3). The gene products of RpoT;1 and RpoT;3 have previously been shown to be imported into mitochondria and chloroplasts, respectively. Here we show that the transit peptide of RpoT;2 possesses dual targeting properties. Transient expression assays in tobacco protoplasts as well as stable transformation of Arabidopsis plants demonstrate efficient targeting of fusion peptides consisting of the N-terminus of RpoT;2 joined to green fluorescent protein to both organelles. Thus, RpoT;2 might be the first RNA polymerase shown to transcribe genes in two different genomes. RNA polymerase activity of recombinant RpoT;2 is uneffected by the inhibitor tagetin, qualifying the gene product of RpoT;2 as a phage-type polymerase.