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J Eukaryot Microbiol. 2006 Nov-Dec;53(6):515-21.

Novel nucleomorph genome architecture in the cryptomonad genus hemiselmis.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 1X5, Canada.


Cryptomonads are ubiquitous aquatic unicellular eukaryotes that acquired photosynthesis through the uptake and retention of a red algal endosymbiont. The nuclear genome of the red alga persists in a highly reduced form termed a nucleomorph. The nucleomorph genome of the model cryptomonad Guillardia theta has been completely sequenced and is a mere 551 kilobases (kb) in size, spread over three chromosomes. The presence of three chromosomes appears to be a universal characteristic of nucleomorph genomes in cryptomonad algae as well as in the chlorarachniophytes, an unrelated algal lineage with a nucleomorph and plastid genome derived from a green algal endosymbiont. Another feature of nucleomorph genomes in all cryptomonads and chlorarachniophytes examined thus far is the presence of subtelomeric ribosomal DNA (rDNA) repeats at the ends of each chromosome. Here we describe the first exception to this canonical nucleomorph genome architecture in the cryptomonad Hemiselmis rufescens CCMP644. Using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), we estimate the size of the H. rufescens nucleomorph genome to be approximately 580 kb, slightly larger than the G. theta genome. Unlike the situation in G. theta and all other known cryptomonads, sub-telomeric repeats of the rDNA cistron appear to be absent on both ends of the second largest chromosome in H. rufescens and two other members of this genus. Southern hybridizations using a variety of nucleomorph protein gene probes against PFGE-separated H. rufescens chromosomes indicate that recombination has been a major factor in shaping the karyotype and genomic structure of cryptomonad nucleomorphs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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