Current Genetics

, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 357–368 | Cite as

The cytochrome oxidase subunit I gene of Tetrahymena: a 57 amino acid NH2-terminal extension and a 108 amino acid insert

  • Zahra Ziaie
  • Yoshitaka Suyama
Original Articles


The gene sequence for cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) in the ciliate Tetrahymena mitochondrial DNA has been determined and shown to be coded by the same strand as codes the genes (in order) for 14S rRNA, tRNAtrp tRNAglu 21S rRNA, tRNAleu and tRNAmet. The predicted protein has 698 amino acids, including an NH2-terminal 57 amino acid extension and a 108 amino acid insert originally found in Paramecium COI. These extension and insert segments are not highly hydrophobic but are relatively rich in lysine, arginine and serine. In analogy with the presequence of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins, they might function as a transmembrane signal. The remaining poly-peptide segments show a hydrophobicity characteristic of membrane spanning proteins. TCOI shows a 64% amino acid identity with Paramecium COI but less than a 38% amino acid conservation with human COI. The Tetrahymena mitochondrial code is analogous with the mammalian mitochondrial code; but differs from the Tetrahymena nuclear genetic code; TGA is exclusively translated as tryptophan; ATA is used as an initiation codon probably for methionine, and TAA as a stop codon; the arginine codons (CGN) are not used. The use of the leucine codon TTA in TCOI is contradictory to the codon recognition pattern previously obtained from the isolated tRNAleu isoacceptors recognizing only the CUN codons, but consistent with the tRNAleu (anticodon UAA) gene encoded in the genome. The reason for this inconsistency has not been resolved.

Key words

COI Sequence Mitochondria Tetrahymena 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zahra Ziaie
    • 1
  • Yoshitaka Suyama
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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