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DNA Res. 1996 Oct 31;3(5):287-90.

Genomic recombination of the mitochondrial atp6 gene in Arabidopsis thaliana at the protein processing site creates two different presequences.

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  • 1Institut für Genbiologische Forschung, Berlin, Germany.


In the mitochondrial genome of the flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana the atp6 open reading frame is located on the border of one of the repeats resulting in two copies with different presequence extensions. The two presequences of 135 and 97 amino acids respectively show no similarity to each other, while the mature protein sequences are identical. Both preproteins are most likely synthesized in Arabidopsis mitochondria from promoter elements upstream of each copy. The presence of two arrangements in the mitochondrial genome of fertile Arabidopsis plants suggests this recombination to be unrelated to a cytoplasmic male sterile phenotype. This recombination precisely at the mature protein terminus is reminiscent of the domain shuffling model in protein evolution.

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