R Michael Mulligan, PhDR. Michael Mulligan, Ph.D.

Molecular evolution and molecular mechanisms of RNA editing in plants – My lab is interested in the expression of organellar genomes in plants. The major focus has been on RNA editing in plant mitochondria and chloroplasts. We have utilized comparative genomics and bioinformatics approaches to characterize cis-elements in gymnosperm and angiosperm mitochondria and chloroplasts. These results have established the sequence context of plant mitochondrial editing sites. In addition, these studies demonstrated that editing sites are sporadically distributed in higher plant mitochondrial genes, and suggests that retroconversion is an active process that “corrects” editing sites through gene conversion and cDNA intermediates.

Recent work has focused on the consequences of editing to the evolution of plant organelle genomes, and the co-evolution of editing site cis-elements and molecular evolution of PPR genes that are required for editing. See more at http://www.faculty.uci.edu/profile.cfm?faculty_id=3342

Recent Publications

  • Hayes, M.L. K. Giang and R.M. Mulligan (2012) Molecular evolution of pentatricopeptide repeat genes reveals truncation in species lacking an editing target and structural domains under distinct selective pressures.  BMC Evolutionary Biology 12:66 (doi:10.1186/1471-2148-12-66).
  • H ayes, M.L. and R.M. Mulligan (2011) Pentatricopeptide repeat proteins constrain genome evolution in chloroplasts.  Molecular Biology and Evolution 28:2029-2039 (doi:10.1093/molbev/msr023).
  • Salmans, M., S-M. Chaw, M Salmans, C-P Lin., A Shih, Y-W Wu and R. M. Mulligan (2010) Editing Site Analysis in a Gymnosperm Mitochondrial Genome Reveals Similarities with Angiosperm Mitochondrial Genomes. Current Genetics 56:439-446.
  • Mulligan, R.M., K. LC. Chang, and C.C. Chou (2007) Computational Analysis of RNA Editing Sites in Plant Mitochondrial Genomes Reveals Similar Information Content and a Sporadic Distribution of Editing Sites. Molecular Biology and Evolution: 24:1971-1981.
  • Nakajima, Y., and R.M. Mulligan (2005) Nucleotide Specificity of RNA Editing Reactions in Pea Chloroplasts. Journal of Plant Physiology 162:1347-1354
  • R.M. Mulligan (2004) RNA Editing in plant organelles in The Molecular Biology and Biotechnology of Plant Organelles ed. Christine Chase and Henry Daniell, Kluwer Press.
  • Williams, M.A., Y. Johzuka, and R.M. Mulligan (2000) Addition of Non-genomically Encoded Nucleotides to the 3′ Terminus of Maize Mitochondrial mRNAs: Truncated rps12 mRNAs Frequently Terminate with CCA. Nucleic Acids Research 28: 4444 – 4451
  • Phreaner, C.G., Williams, M.W., and R. M. Mulligan. (1996) Incomplete Editing of rps12 Transcripts Results in the Synthesis of Polymorphic Polypeptides in Plant Mitochondria. The Plant Cell 8:107-117


  • Phylogenetic and Functional Analysis of Nuclear-encoded Editing Factors and the Chloroplast Editing Targets.(co-PI) NSF Molecular & Cellular Biology/Arabidopsis 2010. Dec 2009 through Nov 2013.
  • Improving Graduate and K-12 Education in Biology (IGK-12) Division of Education and Human Resources, NIH. (co-PI) Jul 2007 through Jun 2012

Graduate Programs

  • Cell Biology

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