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Planta. 2003 Nov;218(1):98-106. Epub 2003 Jul 22.

SulP, a nuclear gene encoding a putative chloroplast-targeted sulfate permease in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.

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Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3102, USA.


Genomic, proteomic, phylogenetic and evolutionary aspects of a novel gene encoding a putative chloroplast-targeted sulfate permease of prokaryotic origin in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii are described. This nuclear-encoded sulfate permease gene (SulP) contains four introns, whereas all other known chloroplast sulfate permease genes lack introns and are encoded by the chloroplast genome. The deduced amino acid sequence of the protein showed an extended N-terminus, which includes a putative chloroplast transit peptide. The mature protein contains seven transmembrane domains and two large hydrophilic loops. This novel prokaryotic-origin gene probably migrated from the chloroplast to the nuclear genome during evolution of C. reinhardtii. The SulP gene, or any of its homologues, has not been retained in vascular plants, e.g. Arabidopsis thaliana, although it is encountered in the chloroplast genome of a liverwort (Marchantia polymorpha). A comparative structural analysis and phylogenetic origin of chloroplast sulfate permeases in a variety of species is presented.

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