We have looked for trans-splicing of nuclear mRNAs in several Euglenoid species. In Cyclidiopsis acus, Phacus curvicauda, Rhabdomonas costata and Menoidium pellucidum we showed that several pre-mRNAs chosen at random are matured by a trans-splicing process: we identified SL-RNA genes whose 5′ ends (SLs for spliced leader-sequences) were transferred to the 5′ extremities of mRNAs. The SL-RNA genes are located on repeated DNA fragments which also encode 5S rRNA in P. curvicauda and C. acus. The potential secondary structures of SL-RNAs are compared to those previously characterized in two other Euglenoids: Euglena gracilis and Entosiphon sulcatum. In another Euglenoid species, Distigma proteus, since none of the mRNAs examined were trans-spliced, it is possible that trans-splicing does not occur. Phylogeny based on 5S rRNA sequences suggests that the species which have, or have had, chloroplasts (E. gracilis, P. curvicauda, C. acus) diverged early from the others.
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