Current Genetics

, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 515–518

Lack of a functional plastid tRNACys gene is associated with loss of photosynthesis in a lineage of parasitic plants

  • Garret W. Taylor
  • Kenneth H. Wolfe
  • Clifford W. Morden
  • Claude W. dePamphilis
  • Jeffrey D. Palmer
Original Articles

DOI: 10.1007/BF00334780

Cite this article as:
Taylor, G.W., Wolfe, K.H., Morden, C.W. et al. Curr Genet (1991) 20: 515. doi:10.1007/BF00334780

Summary

We recently reported that the gene for chloroplast tRNACys(GCA) is a pseudogene in the plastid DNA of Epifagus virginiana, a non-photosynthetic parastic flowering plant in the family Orobanchaceae. Since this is the only tRNACys gene in the plastid genome, and since Epifagus appears to possess a functional plastid translational apparatus, it seems probable that nuclear-encoded tRNAs are imported into plastids to effect translation. In this study we have surveyed species closely related to Epifagus to establish how widespread the loss of this tRNA gene has been. We find that Conopholis americana, another non-photosynthetic parasite, lacks the gene altogether, but that seven closely-related photosythetic plants (both parasitic and free-living) maintain an intact chloroplast tRNACys gene. Thus, the tRNACys gene appears to have become non-functional at the same time that photosynthetic ability was lost. This may be because the levels of putatively imported tRNAs are sufficient to meet the demands of plastid gene expression under nonphotosynthetic conditions only.

Key words

Chloroplast DNA tRNA import Plastid gene translation Pseudogene Non-photosynthetic plants 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Garret W. Taylor
    • 1
  • Kenneth H. Wolfe
    • 1
  • Clifford W. Morden
    • 1
  • Claude W. dePamphilis
    • 1
  • Jeffrey D. Palmer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeneticsTrinity CollegeR-Dublin 2Ireland
  3. 3.Department of BiologyVanderbilt UniversityNash-villeUSA