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Curr Genet. 1992 May;21(6):485-97.

Chloroplast RNA polymerase genes of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii exhibit an unusual structure and arrangement.

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Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington 47505.


Nucleotide sequence analysis of a 17043 base-pair (bp) region of the Chlamydomonas reinhardtii plastome indicates the presence of three open reading frames (ORFs) similar to RNA polymerase subunit genes. Two, termed rpoB1 and rpoB2, are homologous to the 5'- and 3'-halves of the Escherichia coli beta subunit gene, respectively. A third, termed rpoC2, is similar to the 3'-half of the bacterial beta' subunit gene. These genes exhibit several unusual features: (1) all three represent chimeric structures in which RNA polymerase gene sequences are juxtaposed in-frame with long sequences of unknown identity; (2) unlike their counterparts in plants and eubacteria, rpoB1 and rpoB2 are separated from rpoC2 by a long (7 kilobase-pair, kbp) region containing genes unrelated to RNA polymerase; (3) DNA homologous to the 5' half of rpoC (termed rpoC1 in other species) is not present at the 5' end of rpoC2 and could not be detected in C. reinhardtii chloroplast DNA. RNA expression could not be detected for any of the RNA polymerase genes, suggesting that they are pseudogenes or genes expressed at stages of the C. reinhardtii life-cycle not investigated. The three genes are flanked by GC-rich repeat elements. We suggest that repeat DNA-mediated chloroplast recombination events may have contributed to their unusual arrangement.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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