Hornworts are crucial to understand the phylogeny of early land plants. The emergence of ‘reverse’ U‐to‐C RNA editing accompanying the widespread C‐to‐U RNA editing in plant chloroplasts and mitochondria may be a molecular synapomorphy of a hornwort–tracheophyte clade. C‐to‐U RNA editing is well understood after identification of many editing factors in models like Arabidopsis thaliana and Physcomitrella patens, but there is no plant model yet to investigate U‐to‐C RNA editing. The hornwort Anthoceros agrestis is now emerging as such a model system.
We report on the assembly and analyses of the A. agrestis chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes, their transcriptomes and editomes, and a large nuclear gene family encoding pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) proteins likely acting as RNA editing factors.
Both organelles in A. agrestis feature high amounts of RNA editing, with altogether > 1100 sites of C‐to‐U and 1300 sites of U‐to‐C editing. The nuclear genome reveals > 1400 genes for PPR proteins with variable carboxyterminal DYW domains.
We observe significant variants of the ‘classic’ DYW domain, in the meantime confirmed as the cytidine deaminase for C‐to‐U editing, and discuss the first attractive candidates for reverse editing factors given their excellent matches to U‐to‐C editing targets according to the PPR‐RNA binding code.