Two copies of native trnK (UUU) gene are encoded on the sunflower mitochondrial DNA. They lie within two 12-kb direct repeats, presumably generated by a duplication event. During an investigation aimed at detecting DNA regions activating the trnK1 and trnK2 genes, three distinct promoters have been identified. Their locations were deduced using standard procedures (RT-PCR, RNA capping and 5′RACE) usually employed for the detection of transcription initiation sites (TISs). Promoters P3 and P2 control two independent partially overlapping transcription units containing the trnK2 and ccb206 genes, respectively. Promoter P1 has been mapped about 5200 bp upstream of the trnK1 gene which is part of a transcription unit also containing exons c, d and e of the nad2 gene, 5′ to the tRNA gene. Most probably this promoter is not alone in controlling this transcription unit because this DNA region could be cotranscribed, at least partially, starting from other two promoters located upstream of the trnC and trnN genes, respectively. These genes have been previously mapped in a 5′ region adjacent to the cluster containing nad2 exons c, d and e and the trnK1 gene. The comparative analysis of promoters P3 and P1 suggests that the difference between them could be related to the duplication event generating the second copy of trnK gene. The availability of a high number of new promoters belonging to dicot mitochondrial genomes makes possible to note some of their specific features.
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