Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 129, Issue 4, pp 581–590 | Cite as

Plastid genome sequences of Gymnochlora stellata, Lotharella vacuolata, and Partenskyella glossopodia reveal remarkable structural conservation among chlorarachniophyte species

  • Shigekatsu Suzuki
  • Yoshihisa Hirakawa
  • Rumiko Kofuji
  • Mamoru Sugita
  • Ken-ichiro IshidaEmail author
Regular Paper


Chlorarachniophyte algae have complex plastids acquired by the uptake of a green algal endosymbiont, and this event is called secondary endosymbiosis. Interestingly, the plastids possess a relict endosymbiont nucleus, referred to as the nucleomorph, in the intermembrane space, and the nucleomorphs contain an extremely reduced and compacted genome in comparison with green algal nuclear genomes. Therefore, chlorarachniophyte plastids consist of two endosymbiotically derived genomes, i.e., the plastid and nucleomorph genomes. To date, complete nucleomorph genomes have been sequenced in four different species, whereas plastid genomes have been reported in only two species in chlorarachniophytes. To gain further insight into the evolution of endosymbiotic genomes in chlorarachniophytes, we newly sequenced the plastid genomes of three species, Gymnochlora stellata, Lotharella vacuolata, and Partenskyella glossopodia. Our findings reveal that chlorarachniophyte plastid genomes are highly conserved in size, gene content, and gene order among species, but their nucleomorph genomes are divergent in such features. Accordingly, the current architecture of the plastid genomes of chlorarachniophytes evolved in a common ancestor, and changed very little during their subsequent diversification. Furthermore, our phylogenetic analyses using multiple plastid genes suggest that chlorarachniophyte plastids are derived from a green algal lineage that is closely related to Bryopsidales in the Ulvophyceae group.


Chlorarachniophyte Endosymbiosis Genome reduction Nucleomorph Plastid 



We thank A. Fujiyama and T. Narita (National Institute of Genetics, Japan) for plastid genome sequencing of L. vacuolata. This work was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) KAKENHI Grant Numbers: 13206027, 18017011, 23117004, 15K18582, and 14J00572. S. S. is a recipient of the JSPS Research Fellowships for Young Scientists 26-572.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10265_2016_804_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (945 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 945 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shigekatsu Suzuki
    • 1
  • Yoshihisa Hirakawa
    • 2
  • Rumiko Kofuji
    • 3
  • Mamoru Sugita
    • 4
  • Ken-ichiro Ishida
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Graduate School of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of TsukubaIbarakiJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of TsukubaIbarakiJapan
  3. 3.Graduate School of Natural Science and TechnologyKanazawa UniversityIshikawaJapan
  4. 4.Center for Gene ResearchNagoya UniversityAichiJapan

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