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Plant Mol Biol. 1995 Dec;29(6):1127-42.

Atypical phytochrome gene structure in the green alga Mesotaenium caldariorum.

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Section of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California, Davis 95616, USA.


The phytochrome photoreceptor in the green alga Mesotaenium caldariorum is encoded by a small family of highly related genes. DNA sequence analysis of two of the algal phytochrome genes indicates an atypical gene structure with numerous long introns. The two genes, termed mesphy1a and mesphy1b, encode polypeptides which differ by one amino acid in the region of overlap that was sequenced. RT-PCR studies have established the intron-exon junctions of both genes and show that both are expressed. RNA blot analysis indicates a single transcript of ca. 4.1 kb in length. The deduced amino acid sequence of the mesphy1b gene reveals that the photoreceptor consists of 1142 amino acids, with an overall structure similar to other phytochromes. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that the algal phytochrome falls into a distinct subfamily with other lower plant phytochromes. Profile analysis of an internal repeat found within the central hinge region of the phytochrome polypeptide indicates an evolutionary relatedness to the photoactive yellow protein from the purple bacterium Ectothiorhodospira halophila, to several bacterial sensor kinase family members, and to a family of eukaryotic regulatory proteins which includes the period clock (per) and single-minded (sim) gene products of Drosophila. Since mutations which alter phytochrome activity cluster within the region delimited by these direct repeats (P.H. Quail et al., Science 268 (1995): 675-680), this conserved motif may play an important role in the signal transducing function of these disparate protein families.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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