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Photosynth Res. 2004;79(1):83-91.

Phylogenetic distribution of unusual triheme to tetraheme cytochrome subunit in the reaction center complex of purple photosynthetic bacteria.

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Department of Biology, Tokyo Metropolitan University, Minamiohsawa 1-1, Hachioji, Tokyo, 192-0397, Japan,


To understand the evolutionary relationship between triheme and tetraheme cytochrome subunits in the reaction center complex, genes located downstream of that coding for the M subunit of the reaction center complex (pufM) were amplified by PCR and analyzed in six established and two unidentified species of the genus Rhodovulum and five species of the genus Rhodobacter. All the Rhodovulum species tested had the pufC gene coding for the reaction-center-bound cytochrome subunit, while all the Rhodobacter species were found to have the pufX gene at the corresponding position. Analyses of the amino acid sequences of the pufC gene products showed that the cytochrome subunits of all the Rhodovulum species have three heme-binding-motifs and lack a methionine residue probably working as the sixth axial-ligand to one of the three hemes. Phylogenetic relationships among Rhodovulum species based on the pufC gene products were basically consistent with those based on 16S rRNA sequences, suggesting that the basic characteristics of the triheme cytochrome subunit have been conserved during the evolutionary process of the Rhodovulum species.

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