We examine the issue of prochlorophyte origins and provide analyses which highlight the limitations of inferring evolutionary trees from anciently diverged sequences that have markedly different GC contents. Under these conditions we have found that current tree reconstruction methods strongly group together sequences with similar GC contents, whether or not the sequences share a common ancestor. We provide 3′psbA termini sequence forProchloron didemni and find it does not have the 7 amino acid deletion that occurs in Chla/b chloroplasts andProchlorothrix hollandica. This is consistent with the recent findings of a Chlc like pigment in the light harvesting system in other prochlorophytes but apparently absent inP. hollandica. From these observations we suggest thatP. hollandica is the prochlorophyte most closely related to Chla/b containing chloroplasts and hence the most appropriate prokaryotic model for higher plant Chla/b photosynthesis.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
guanine + cytosine content
light harvesting complexes
Felsenstein J (1978) Cases where parsimony or computability methods will be positively misleading. Syst Zool 27: 401–410.
Felsenstein J (1985) Confidence limits on phylogenies: An approach using the bootstrap. Evolution 39: 783–791.
Felsenstein J (1991) PHYLIP 3.4 Manual, Univ. California Herbarium, Berkeley, California.
Goericke R and Repeta DJ (1992) The pigments ofProchlorococcus marinus: The presence of divinyl chlorophylla andb in a marine procaryote. Limnol & Oceanog 37: 425–433.
Hendy MD and Penny D (1989) A framework for the quantitative study of evolutionary trees. Syst Zool 38: 297–309.
Hendy MD and Penny D (1993) Spectral analysis of phylogenetic data. J Classif 10: 5–24.
Kishino H, Miyata T and Hasegawa M (1990) Maximum likelihood inference of protein phylogeny and the origin of chloroplasts. J Mol Evol 31: 151–160.
Lake J (1987) A rate-independent technique for analysis of nucleic acid sequences: Evolutionary parsimony. Mol Biol Evol 4 (2): 167–191.
Larkum AWD, Scaramuzzi C, Cox GC, Hiller RG and Turner A (1993) A light-harvesting chlorophyllc-like pigment inProchloron didemni. Proc Natl Acad Sci (submitted).
Lockhart PJ, Beanland TJ, Howe CJ and Larkum AWD (1989) Isolation of high molecular mass DNA from the prochlorophyteProchloron didemni. FEBS Lett 248: 127–130.
Lockhart PJ, Howe CJ, Beanland TJ and Larkum AWD (1992a) Substitutional bias confounds inference of cyanelle origins from sequence data. J Mol Evol 34: 153–162.
Lockhart PJ, Penny D, Hendy MD, Howe CJ, Beanland T and Larkum AWD (1992b) Controversy on chloroplast origins. FEBS Lett 301: 127–131.
Lockhart PJ, Beanland TJ, Howe CJ, Larkum AWD (1992c) Sequence ofProchloron didemni atpBE and the inference of chloroplast origins. Proc Natl Acad Sci 89: 2742–2746.
Lockhart PJ and Penny D (1992) The problem of GC content, evolutionary trees and the origins of Chla/b photosynthetic organelles. Are the prochlorophytes a eubacterial model for higher plant photosynthesis? In: Murata N(ed) Research in Photosynthesis, Vol III, 499–505. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.
Meyer TE, Cusanovich MA and Kamen MD (1986) Evidence against the use of bacterial amino acid sequence data for construction of all-inclusive phylogenetic trees. Proc Natl Acad Sci 83: 217–220.
Morden CW and Golden SS (1989)psbA genes indicate common ancestry of prochlorophytes and chloroplasts. Nature 337: 382–384.
Morden CW and Golden SS (1991) Sequence analysis and phylogenetic reconstruction of the genes encoding the large and small subunit of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase from the chlorophyllb-containing prokaryoteProchlorothrix hollandica. J Mol Evol 30: 16–25.
Palenik B and Haselkorn R (1992) Multiple evolutionary origins of prochlorophytes, the chlorophyllb-containing prokaryotes. Nature 355: 265–267.
Penny D, Foulds LR and Hendy MD (1982) Testing the theory of evolution by comparing phylogenetic trees constructed from five different protein sequences. Nature 297: 197–200.
Penny D, Hendy MD and Henderson IM (1987) Reliability of evolutionary trees. Cold Spring Harbor Symp Quant Biol 52: 857–862.
Penny D, Hendy MD, Zimme EA and Hamby RK (1990) Trees from sequences: Panacea or Pandora's box? Australian Systematic Botany 3: 21–38.
Sambrook J, Fritsch EF and Maniatis T (1989) Molecular Cloning (edChrisNolan). Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor.
Seewaldt E and Stackebrandt E (1982) Partial sequence of the 16S ribosomal RNA and the phylogeny ofProchloron. Nature 295: 618–620.
Sidow A and Wilson A C (1990) Compositional statistics: An improvement of evolutionary parsimony and its application to deep branches in the tree of life. J Mol Evol 31: 51–68.
Stewart C-B and Wilson AC (1987) Sequence convergence and functional adaptation of stomach lysozymes from foregut fermenters. Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol 52: 891–899.
Turner S, Burger-Wiersma T, Giovannoni SJ, Mur LR and Pace NR (1989) The relationship of a prochlorophyteProchlorothrix hollandica to green chloroplasts. Nature 337: 380–382.
Urbach E, Robertson DL and Chisholm SW (1992) Multiple evolutionary origins of prochlorophytes within the cyanobacterial radiation. Nature 355: 267–270.
Van Valen LM (1982) Phylogenies in molecular evolution:Prochloron. Nature 298: 493–494.
About this article
Cite this article
Lockhart, P.J., Penny, D., Hendy, M.D. et al. IsProchlorothrix hollandica the best choice as a prokaryotic model for higher plant Chla/b photosynthesis?. Photosynth Res 37, 61–68 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02185439