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J Mol Evol. 1997 Dec;45(6):688-95.

Analysis of the cluster of ribosomal protein genes in the plastid genome of a unicellular red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae: translocation of the str cluster as an early event in the rhodophyte-chromophyte lineage of plastid evolution.

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  • 1School of Human Science, Waseda University, Saitama, Japan. niji@human.waseda.ac.jp


The nucleotide sequence of a cluster of ribosomal protein genes in the plastid genome of a unicellular red alga, Cyanidioschyzon merolae, which has been supposed to be the most primitive alga, was determined. The phylogenetic tree inferred from the amino acid sequence of ribosomal proteins of two rhodophytes, a chromophyte, a glaucophyte, two chlorophytes (land plants), a cyanobacterium, and three eubacteria suggested a close relationship between the cyanobacterium Synechocystis PCC6803 and the plastids of various species in the kingdom Plantae, which is consistent with the hypothesis of the endosymbiotic origin of plastids. In this tree, the two species of rhodophytes were grouped with the chromophyte, and the glaucophyte was grouped with the chlorophytes. Analysis of the organization of the genes encoding the ribosomal proteins suggested that the translocation of the str cluster occurred early in the lineage of rhodophytes and chromophytes after these groups had been separated from chlorophytes and glaucophytes.

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