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J Mol Evol. 1999 Jan;48(1):112-7.

Ancient gene duplication and differential gene flow in plastid lineages: the GroEL/Cpn60 example.

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Cell Biology and Applied Botany, Philipps-Universit├Ąt Marburg, Karl-von-Frisch-Strasse, D-35032 Marburg, Germany.


Cryptomonads, small biflagellate algae, contain four different genomes. In addition to the nucleus, mitochondrion, and chloroplast is a fourth DNA-containing organelle the nucleomorph. Nucleomorphs result from the successive reduction of the nucleus of an engulfed phototrophic eukaryotic endosymbiont by a secondary eukaryotic host cell. By sequencing the chloroplast genome and the nucleomorph chromosomes, we identified a groEL homologue in the genome of the chloroplast and a related cpn60 in one of the nucleomorph chromosomes. The nucleomorph-encoded Cpn60 and the chloroplast-encoded GroEL correspond in each case to one of the two divergent GroEL homologues in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC6803. The coexistence of divergent groEL/cpn60 genes in different genomes in one cell offers insights into gene transfer from evolving chloroplasts to cell nuclei and convergent gene evolution in chlorophyll a/b versus chlorophyll a/c/phycobilin eukaryotic lineages.

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