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Gene. 2007 Nov 1;402(1-2):51-6. Epub 2007 Aug 1.

Loss of the rpl32 gene from the chloroplast genome and subsequent acquisition of a preexisting transit peptide within the nuclear gene in Populus.

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Genetic Diversity Department, National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, Kannondai 2-1-2, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8602, Japan.


Gene transfer events from organelle genomes (mitochondria and chloroplasts in plants) to the nuclear genome are important processes in the evolution of the eukaryotic cell. It is highly likely that the gene transfer event is still an ongoing process in higher plant mitochondria and chloroplasts. The number and order of genes encoded in the chloroplast genome of higher plants are highly conserved. Recently, several exceptional cases of gene loss from the chloroplast genome have been discovered as the number of complete chloroplast genome sequences has increased. The Populus chloroplast genome has lost the rpl32 gene, while the corresponding the chloroplast rpl32 (cp rpl32) gene has been identified in the nuclear genome. Nuclear genes transferred from the chloroplast genome need to gain a sequence that encodes a transit peptide. Here, we revealed that the nuclear cp rpl32 gene has acquired the exon sequence, which is highly homologous to a transit peptide derived from the chloroplast Cu-Zn superoxide dismutase (cp sod-1) gene. The cp rpl32 gene has acquired the sequence that encodes not only for the transit peptide, but also for the conserved N-terminal portion of the mature SOD protein from the cp sod-1 gene, suggesting the occurrence of DNA sequence duplication. Unlike cp SOD-1, cp RPL32 did not show biased localization in the chloroplasts. This difference may be caused by mutations accumulated in the sequence of the SOD domain on the cp rpl32 gene. We provide new insight into the fate of the inherent sequence derived from a transit peptide.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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