, Volume 232, Issue 1, pp 65-73

Structure and organization of rhodophyte and chromophyte plastid genomes: implications for the ancestry of plastids

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Summary

Plastid genomes of two rhodophytes (Porphyra yezoensis and Griffithsia pacifica) and two chromophytes (Olisthodiscus luteus and Ochromonas danica) were compared with one another and with green plants in terms of overall structure, gene complement and organization. The rhodophyte genomes are moderately co-linear in terms of gene organization, and are distinguished by three rearrangements that can most simply be explained by transpositions and a large (approximately 40 kb) inversion. Porphyra contains two loci for ppcBA and Griffithsia has two loci for rpoA. Although there is little similarity in gene organization between the rhodophytes and consensus green plant genome, certain gene clusters found in green plants appear to be conserved in the rhodophytes. The chromophytes Olisthodiscus and Ochromonas contain relatively large plastid inverted repeats that encode several photosynthetic genes in addition to the rRNA genes. With the exception of rbcS, the plastid gene complement in Olisthodiscus is similar to that of green plants, at least for the subset of genes tested. The Ochromonas genome, in contrast, appears unusual in that several of the green plant gene probes hybridizing to Olisthodiscus DNA did not detect similar sequences in Ochromonas DNA. Gene organization within the chromophytes is scrambled relative to each other and to green plants, despite the presence of putatively stabilizing inverted repeats. However, some gene clusters conserved in green plants and rhodophytes are also present in the chromophytes. Comparison of the entire rhodophyte, chromophyte and green plant plastid genomes suggests that despite diferences in gene organization, there remain overall similarities in architecture, gene content, and gene sequences among in three lineages. These similarities are discussed with reference to the ancestry of the different plastid types.