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Mol Biol Evol. 2012 Jun;29(6):1545-56. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msr316. Epub 2011 Dec 23.

Transcriptomic evidence for the expression of horizontally transferred algal nuclear genes in the photosynthetic sea slug, Elysia chlorotica.

Author information

1
Department of Integrative Biology, University of South Florida, USA. pierce@usf.edu

Abstract

Analysis of the transcriptome of the kleptoplastic sea slug, Elysia chlorotica, has revealed the presence of at least 101 chloroplast-encoded gene sequences and 111 transcripts matching 52 nuclear-encoded genes from the chloroplast donor, Vaucheria litorea. These data clearly show that the symbiotic chloroplasts are translationally active and, of even more interest, that a variety of functional algal genes have been transferred into the slug genome, as has been suggested by earlier indirect experiments. Both the chloroplast- and nuclear-encoded sequences were rare within the E. chlorotica transcriptome, suggesting that their copy numbers and synthesis rates are low, and required both a large amount of sequence data and native algal sequences to find. These results show that the symbiotic chloroplasts residing inside the host molluscan cell are maintained by an interaction of both organellar and host biochemistry directed by the presence of transferred genes.

PMID:
22319135
DOI:
10.1093/molbev/msr316
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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