Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 64, Issue 5, pp 601–604 | Cite as

Unique Regulation of the Calvin Cycle in the Ultrasmall Green Alga Ostreococcus

  • Steven Robbens
  • Jörn Petersen
  • Henner Brinkmann
  • Pierre Rouzé
  • Yves Van de Peer
Letter to the Editor


Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GapAB) and CP12 are two major players in controlling the inactivation of the Calvin cycle in land plants at night. GapB originated from a GapA gene duplication and differs from GapA by the presence of a specific C-terminal extension that was recruited from CP12. While GapA and CP12 are assumed to be generally present in the Plantae (glaucophytes, red and green algae, and plants), up to now GapB was exclusively found in Streptophyta, including the enigmatic green alga Mesostigma viride. However, here we show that two closely related prasinophycean green algae, Ostreococcus tauri and Ostreococcus lucimarinus, also possess a GapB gene, while CP12 is missing. This remarkable finding either antedates the GapA/B gene duplication or indicates a lateral recruitment. Moreover, Ostreococcus is the first case where the crucial CP12 function may be completely replaced by GapB-mediated GapA/B aggregation.


Ostreococcus tauri Ostreococcus lucimarinus Plant evolution Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase CP12 Calvin cycle 



The authors would like to thank Igor Grigoriev, Brian Palenik, and the JGI for the prior access to the Ostreococcus lucimarinus data. S.R. is indebted to the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation by Science and Technology in Flanders for a predoctoral fellowship. The authors also want to thank two anonymous reviewers for careful reading of the manuscript and constructive criticisms.

Supplementary material

239_2006_159_Supp.pdf (870 kb)
Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Robbens
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jörn Petersen
    • 3
  • Henner Brinkmann
    • 4
  • Pierre Rouzé
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  • Yves Van de Peer
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Plant Systems BiologyVIBGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Molecular GeneticsGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  3. 3.Institut für GenetikTechnische Universität BraunschweigBraunschweigGermany
  4. 4.Département de BiochimieUniversité de MontréalMontrealCanada
  5. 5.Laboratoire Associé de l’INRA (France)Ghent UniversityGhentBelgium

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