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  1. Abstract The RanBP2 zinc finger (Znf) domain is a prevalent domain that mediates protein interaction and RNA binding. In Arabidopsis, a clade of four RanBP2 Znf-containing proteins, named the Organelle Zinc (OZ) finger family, are known or predicted to be targeted to either the mitochondria or the plastids. Previously we reported that OZ1 is absolutely required for the editing of 14 sites in chloroplasts. We now have investigated the function of OZ2, whose null mutation is embryo lethal. We rescued the null mutant by expressing wild-type OZ2 under the control of the seed-specific ABSCISIC ACID-INSENSITIVE3 (ABI3) promoter. Rescued mutant plants exhibit severely delayed development and a distinctive morphological phenotype. Genetic and biochemical analyses demonstrated that OZ2 promotes the splicing of transcripts of several mitochondrial nad genes and rps3. The splicing defect of nad transcripts results in the destabilization of complex I, which in turn affects the respiratory ability of oz2 mutants, turning on the alternative respiratory pathway, and impacting the plant development. Protein-protein interaction assays demonstrated binding of OZ2 to several known mitochondrial splicing factors targeting the same splicing events. These findings extend the known functional repertoire of the RanBP2 zinc finger domain in nuclear splicing to include plant organelle splicing. 
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  2. OZ1, an RNA editing factor that controls the editing of 14 cytidine targets in Arabidopsis chloroplasts, contains two RanBP2-type zinc finger (Znf) domains. The RanBP2 Znf is a C4-type member of the broader zinc finger family with unique functions and an unusually diverse distribution in plants. The domain can mediate interactions with proteins or RNA and appears in protein types such as proteases, RNA editing factors, and chromatin modifiers; however, few characterized Arabidopsis proteins containing RanBP2 Znfs have been studied specifically with the domain in mind. In humans, RanBP2 Znf-containing proteins are involved in RNA splicing, transport, or transcription initiation. We present a phylogenetic overview of Arabidopsis RanBP2 Znf proteins and the functional niches that these proteins occupy in plants. OZ1 and its four-member family represent a branch of this family with major impact on the RNA biology of chloroplasts and mitochondria in Arabidopsis. We discuss what is known about other plant proteins carrying the RanBP2 Znf domain and point out how phylogenetic information can provide clues to functions of uncharacterized Znf proteins. 
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