Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 379–395 | Cite as

Sequence analysis and phylogenetic reconstruction of the genes encoding the large and small subunits of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase from the chlorophyllb-containing prokaryoteProchlorothrix hollandica

  • Clifford W. Morden
  • Susan S. Golden


Prochlorophytes similar toProchloron sp. andProchlorothrix hollandica have been suggested as possible progenitors of the plastids of green algae and land plants because they are prokaryotic organisms that possess chlorophyllb (chlb). We have sequenced theProchlorothrix genes encoding the large and small subunits of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (rubisco),rbcL andrbcS, for comparison with those of other taxa to assess the phylogenetic relationship of this species. Length differences in the large subunit polypeptide among all sequences compared occur primarily at the amino terminus, where numerous short gaps are present, and at the carboxy terminus, where sequences ofAlcaligenes eutrophus and non-chlorophyllb algae are several amino acids longer. Some domains in the small subunit polypeptide are conserved among all sequences analyzed, yet in other domains the sequences of different phylogenetic groups exhibit specific structural characteristics. Phylogenetic analyses ofrbcL andrbcS using Wagner parsimony analysis of deduced amino acid sequences indicate thatProchlorothrix is more closely related to cyanobacteria than to the green plastid lineage. The molecular phylogenies suggest that plastids originated by at least three separate primary endosymbiotic events, i.e., once each leading to green algae and land plants, to red algae, and toCyanophora paradoxa. TheProchlorothrix rubisco genes show a strong GC bias, with 68% of the third codon positions being G or C. Factors that may affect the GC content of different genomes are discussed.

Key words

rbcLS Operon Rubisco Prochlorophyte Endosymbiosis Polyphyletic plastid origin Codon usage Chlorophyllb Phycobilins 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clifford W. Morden
    • 1
  • Susan S. Golden
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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