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Eur J Biochem. 1988 May 2;173(3):473-82.

Comparative evaluation of gene expression in archaebacteria.

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Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie, Martinsried, Federal Republic of Germany.


Gene organization, gene structure, especially regarding transcription and translation signals, and the structure of essential components of the gene expression machinery of archaebacteria are compared with those of eubacteria and eukaryotes. Many features of the genetic machinery of archaebacteria are shared either with eubacteria or with eukaryotes. For example, the translation signals including ribosome-binding sites are the same as in eubacteria, but the consensus sequence of archaebacterial promoters closely resembles that of the eukaryotic polymerase II promoters. Archaebacterial genes can be organized in transcription units resembling those of eubacteria. But the sequences of several protein components of the genetic machinery have strikingly more homology with those of their eukaryotic than with those of their eubacterial correspondents. The sequences of the large components of DNA-dependent RNA polymerases of archaebacteria closely resemble those of the eukaryotic RNA polymerases II and, somewhat less, III. In a dendrogram calculated from percentage homology data, the eukaryotic RNA polymerase I component A shares a branching point with the eubacterial component. The implications of these findings for the origin and the evolution of the eukaryotic ancestry are discussed.

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