In flowering plants, RNA editing is a posttranscriptional mechanism that converts specific cytidines to uridines in both mitochondrial and plastidial transcripts, altering the information encoded by these genes. Here, we report the molecular characterization of the empty pericarp5 (emp5) mutants in maize (Zea mays). Null mutation of Emp5 results in abortion of embryo and endosperm development at early stages. Emp5 encodes a mitochondrion-targeted DYW subgroup pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) protein. Analysis of the mitochondrial transcripts revealed that loss of the EMP5 function abolishes the C-to-U editing of ribosomal protein L16 at the rpl16-458 site (100% edited in the wild type), decreases the editing at nine sites in NADH dehydrogenase9 (nad9), cytochrome c oxidase3 (cox3), and ribosomal protein S12 (rps12), and surprisingly increases the editing at five sites of ATP synthase F0 subunit a (atp6), apocytochrome b (cob), nad1, and rpl16. Mutant EMP5-4 lacking the E+ and DYW domains still retains the substrate specificity and editing function, only at reduced efficiency. This suggests that the E+ and DYW domains of EMP5 are not essential to the EMP5 editing function but are necessary for efficiency. Analysis of the ortholog in rice (Oryza sativa) indicates that rice EMP5 has a conserved function in C-to-U editing of the rice mitochondrial rpl16-458 site. EMP5 knockdown expression in transgenics resulted in slow growth and defective seeds. These results demonstrate that Emp5 encodes a PPR-DYW protein that is required for the editing of multiple transcripts in mitochondria, and the editing events, particularly the C-to-U editing at the rpl16-458 site, are critical to the mitochondrial functions and, hence, to seed development in maize.