Molecular and General Genetics MGG

, Volume 252, Issue 1–2, pp 195–206 | Cite as

Ebb and flow of the chloroplast inverted repeat

  • S. E. Goulding
  • K. H. Wolfe
  • R. G. Olmstead
  • C. W. Morden
Original Paper


The endpoints of the large inverted repeat (IR) of chloroplast DNA in flowering plants differ by small amounts between species. To quantify the extent of this movement and define a possible mechanism for IR expansion, DNA sequences across the IR—large single-copy (IR-LSC) junctions were compared among 13Nicotiana species and other dicots. In mostNicotiana species the IR terminates just upstream of, or somewhere within, the 5′ portion of therps19 gene. The truncated copy of this gene,rps19′, varies in length even between closely related species but is of constant size within a single species. InNicotiana, six differentrps19′ structures were found. A phylogenetic tree ofNicotiana species based on restriction site data shows that the IR has both expanded and contracted during the evolution of this genus. Gene conversion is proposed to account for these small and apparently random IR expansions. A large IR expansion of over 12 kb has occurred inNicotiana acuminata. The new IR-LSC junction in this species lies within intron 1 of theclpP gene. This rearrangement occurred via a double-strand DNA break and recombination between poly (A) tracts inclpP intron 1 and upstream ofrps19. Nicotiana acuminata chloroplast DNA contains a ‘molecular fossil’ of the IR-LSC junction that existed prior to this dramatic rearrangement.

Key words

Inverted repeat Large single copy region Chloroplast DNA Gene conversion Double-stranded DNA break 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. E. Goulding
    • 1
  • K. H. Wolfe
    • 1
  • R. G. Olmstead
    • 2
  • C. W. Morden
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of GeneticsUniversity of Dublin, Trinity CollegeDublin 2Ireland
  2. 2.Department of BotanyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Botany/H.E.B.P.University of HawaiiHonoluluUSA

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