Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 56, Issue 5, pp 811–820

A fragment of chloroplast DNA was transferred horizontally, probably from non-eudicots, to mitochondrial genome of Phaseolus

  • Magdalena Woloszynska
  • Tomasz Bocer
  • Pawel Mackiewicz
  • Hanna Janska

DOI: 10.1007/s11103-004-5183-y

Cite this article as:
Woloszynska, M., Bocer, T., Mackiewicz, P. et al. Plant Mol Biol (2004) 56: 811. doi:10.1007/s11103-004-5183-y


The mitochondrial genomes of some Phaseolus species contain a fragment of chloroplast trnA gene intron, named pvs-trnA for its location within the Phaseolus vulgaris sterility sequence (pvs). The purpose of this study was to determine the type of transfer (intracellular or horizontal) that gave rise to pvs-trnA. Using a PCR approach we could not find the respective portion of the trnA gene as a part of pvs outside the Phaseolus genus. However, a BLAST search revealed longer fragments of trnA present in the mitochondrial genomes of some Citrus species, Helianthus annuus and Zea mays. Basing on the identity or near-identity between these mitochondrial sequences and their chloroplast counterparts we concluded that they had relocated from chloroplasts to mitochondria via recent, independent, intracellular DNA transfers. In contrast, pvs-trnA displayed a relatively higher sequence divergence when compared with its chloroplast counterpart from Phaseolus vulgaris. Alignment of pvs-trnA with corresponding trnAfragments from 35 plant species as well as phylogenetic analysis revealed that pvs-trnA grouped with non-eudicot sequences and was well separated from all Fabalessequences. In conclusion, we propose that pvs-trnA arose via horizontal transfer of a trnA intron fragment from chloroplast of a non-eudicot plant to Phaseolus mitochondria. This is the first example of horizontal transfer of a chloroplast sequence to the mitochondrial genome in higher plants.


chloroplast trnA gene horizontal gene transfer intracellular gene transfer plant mitochondrial DNA 



base pair


gene encoding subunit 1 of cytochrome oxidase


horizontal gene transfer


kilo base


likelihood ratio test




gene encoding subunit 1 of respiratory chain NADH dehydrogenase


Phaseolus vulgaris sterility sequence


gene encoding alanine tRNA


gene encoding isoleucine tRNA


weighted neighbour-joining

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Magdalena Woloszynska
    • 1
  • Tomasz Bocer
    • 1
  • Pawel Mackiewicz
    • 2
  • Hanna Janska
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Department of Cell Molecular BiologyUniversity of WroclawWroclawPoland
  2. 2.Institute of Genetics and Microbiology, Department of GenomicsUniversity of WroclawWroclawPoland

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