, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 236-244

The Plastid Genome of the Cryptophyte Alga, Guillardia theta: Complete Sequence and Conserved Synteny Groups Confirm Its Common Ancestry with Red Algae

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Abstract.

The plastid genome of the cryptophyte alga Guillardia theta (121,524 bp) has been completely sequenced. The genome is 33% G+C and contains a short, nonidentical inverted repeat (4.9 kb) encoding the two rRNA cistrons. The large and small single-copy regions are 96.3 and 15.4 kb, respectively. Forty-six genes encoding proteins for photosynthesis, 5 genes for biosynthetic function, 5 genes involved in replication and division, 30 tRNA genes, 44 ribosomal protein genes (26 large subunit and 18 small subunit), 3 translation factors, 8 genes encoding components of the transcriptional machinery including 3 ycfs (hypothetical chloroplast frames), and 26 additional ycfs have been identified. There are eight ORFs larger than 50 amino acids, 3 of which have homologues on the plastid genome of the rhodophyte, Porphyra purpurea (Reith and Munholland 1995) and/or the Synechocystis genome (Kaneko et al. 1996) and can be designated new ycfs. Intergenic spacers are very short, no introns have been detected, and several genes overlap, all resulting in a very compact genome. In addition, large clusters of genes (such as those for the ribosomal proteins) are organized into single transcriptional units (Wang et al. 1997), again resulting in an economically organized genome. The cryptophyte plastid genome is almost completely comprised of clusters of genes that are found on the rhodophyte Porphyra purpurea, confirming its common ancestry with red algae. Furthermore, recombination events involving both tRNA genes and the rRNA cistrons appear to have been responsible for the structure of the cryptophyte plastid genome, including the formation of the inverted repeat.

Received: 16 June 1998 / Accepted: 20 August 1998