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J Mol Biol. 1986 Oct 5;191(3):421-32.

Sequence, evolution and differential expression of the two genes encoding variant small subunits of ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.


We have sequenced the two genes for the small subunit of ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and analyzed their expression. The two genes encode variant small subunits that differ by four amino acid residues. Both genes are expressed and each is transcribed into an RNA of distinct size. The accumulation of the two RNAs changes depending on the growth conditions, so the small subunit composition of Rubisco may be expected to differ in response to the environment. The C. reinhardtii small subunit sequence is homologous to those of vascular plants or cyanobacteria, but is longer at the amino terminus and in internal positions. The number and location of the intervening sequences in the genes from C. reinhardtii and from other plants differ. In several cases, internal length differences in the polypeptide coincide with the positions of introns in the coding sequence. Thus, changes in the exon structure of the genes during evolution may have been accompanied by substantial changes in the encoded protein. The translation and splicing signals in C. reinhardtii are similar to those of other eukaryotes, but the transcription signals are less conserved and the highly biased codon usage is very unusual.

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