The presence of a nucleomorph hsp70 gene is a common feature of Cryptophyta and Chlorarachniophyta
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Cryptomonad algae and Chlorarachiniophyta are evolutionary chimaeras derived from the engulfment of an eukaryotic phototrophic endosymbiont by a eukaryotic host cell. Although much reduced, the endosymbiont's eukaryotic plasmatic compartment still contains a nucleus, the so-called nucleomorph. These nucleomorphs carry the smallest known eukaryotic genomes. We have characterized the genomes of several cryptomonads and a Chlorarachnion species by means of PFGE (pulsed-field gel electrophoresis). Hybridization studies with small subunit rDNA were used to identify the nucleomorph chromosomes. We also performed hybridization experiments with an hsp70 probe to estimate the distribution of this gene among the different algal species. The evolutionary, genetical, and physiological implications of our studies are discussed. A model on the possible function of the nucleomorph hsp70 gene products is presented.
Key wordsChlorarachniophyta Cryptophyta Nucleomorph HSP 70
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