Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 4, Issue 5, pp 267–273 | Cite as

Nuclear and mitochondrial DNA have sequence homology with a chloroplast gene

  • Dara L. Whisson
  • N. Steele Scott


A PstI 7.7 kbp fragment from chloroplast (ct) DNA of spinach shows homology to an EcoRI 8.3 kbp fragment of mitochondrial (mt) DNA and in turn, both are homologous to a number of common regions of nuclear (n) DNA. The common area of homology between the chloroplast and mitochondrial fragments is between a KpnI 1.8 segment internal to the PstI sites in the ctDNA and an EcoRI/BamHI 2.9 kbp fragment at one end of the mitochondrial 8.3 kbp fragment. The KpnI 1.8 kbp ctDNA fragment is within a structural gene for the P700 chlorophyll a apoprotein. Further analysis of this KpnI 1.8 kbp fragment confined the homologous region in mtDNA to a ct 0.8 kbp HpaII fragment. These smaller pieces of the organellar genomes share homologies with nuclear DNA as well as displaying unique hybridization sites. The observations reported here demonstrate that there is a common or closely related sequence in all three genetic compartments of the cell.


chloroplast DNA DNA homologies mitochondrial DNA nuclear DNA photosystem I spinach 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Alt J, Westhoff P, Sears BB, Nelson N, Hurt E, Hauska G, Herrmann RG: Genes and transcripts for the polypeptides of the cytochrome b6/f complex from spinach thylakoid membranes. EMBO J 2:979–986, 1983.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Alt J, Winter P, Sebald W, Moser JG, Schedel R, Westhoff P, Herrmann RG: Localization and nucleotide sequence of the gene for the ATP synthase proteolipid subunit on the spinach plastid chromosome. Curr Genet 7:129–138, 1983.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Doolittle WF: Revolutionary concepts in evolutionary cell biology. Trends Biochem Sci 5:146–149, 1980.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Douce R, Moore AL, Neuberger M: Isolation and oxidation properties of intact mitochondria isolated from spinach leaves. Plant Physiol 60:625–628, 1977.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Dretzen G, Bellard M, Sassone-Corsi P, Chambon P: A reliable method for the recovery of DNA fragments from agarose and acrylamide gels. Anal Biochem 112:295–298, 1981.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Driesel AJ, Speirs J, Bohnert HJ: Spinach chloroplast mRNA for a 32 000 Dalton polypeptide: Size and location on the physical map of the chloroplast DNA. Biochim Biophys Acta 610:297–310, 1980.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Dugaiczyk A, Boyer HW, Goodman HM: Ligation of EcoRI endonuclease-generated DNA fragments into linear and circular structures. J Mol Biol 96:171–184, 1975.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ellis RJ: Chloroplast proteins: synthesis, transport and assembly. Ann Rev Plant Physiol 32:111–137, 1981.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ellis J: Mobile genes of chloroplasts and the promiscuity of DNA. Nature 304:308–309, 1983.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Farrelly F, Butow RA: Rearranged mitochondrial genes in the yeast nuclear genome. Nature 301:296–301, 1983.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Grunstein M, Hogness D: Colony hybridization: A method for the isolation of cloned DNAs that contain a specific gene. Proc Natl Acad Sci 72:3961–3965, 1975.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Holmes DS, Quigley M: A rapid boiling method for the preparation of bacterial plasmids. Anal Biochem 114:193–197, 1981.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kemble RJ, Mans RJ, Gabay-Laughnan S, Loughnan JR: Sequences homologous to episomal mitochondrial DNAs in the maize nuclear genome. Nature 304:744–747, 1983.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Lonsdale DM, Hodge TP, Howe CJ, Stern DB: Maize mitochondrial DNA contains a sequence homologous to the ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase large subunit gene of chloroplast DNA. Cell 34:1007–1014, 1983.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Palmer JD, Shields CR: Tripartite structure of theBrassica compestris mitochondrial genome. Nature 307:437–440, 1984.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Palmer JD, Thompson WF: Clone banks of the mung bean, pea and spinach chloroplast genomes. Gene 15:21–26, 1981.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Possingham JV, Smith JW: Factors affecting chloroplast replication in spinach. J Exp Bot 23:1050–1059, 1972.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Scott NS, Possingham JV: Chloroplast DNA in expanding spinach leaves. J Exp Bot 123:1081–1092, 1980.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Scott NS, Timmis JN: Homologies between nuclear and plastid DNA in spinach. Theor Appl Genet 67:279–288, 1984.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Stern DB, Lonsdale DM: Mitochondrial and chloroplast genomes of maize have a 12-kilobase DNA sequence in common. Nature 299:698–702, 1982.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Stern DB, Palmer JD: Extensive and widespread homologies between mitochondrial DNA and chloroplast DNA in plants. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, in press (1984).Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Timmis JN, Scott NS: Sequence homology between spinach nuclear and chloroplast genomes. Nature 305:65–67, 1983.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Timmis JN, Scott NS: Promiscuous DNA: Sequence homologies between DNA of separate organelles. TIBS 9(6):271–273, 1984.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    van den Bogaart P, Samallo J, Agsteribbe E: Similar genes for a mitochondrial ATPase subunit in nuclear and mitochondrial genomes ofNeurospora crassa. Nature 298:187–189, 1982.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Westhoff P, Alt J, Nelson N, Bottomley W, Bunemann H, Herrman RG: Genes and transcripts for the P700 chlorophyll a apoprotein and subunit 2 of the photosystem I reaction center complex from spinach thylakoid membranes. Pl Mol Biol 2:95–107, 1983.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Westhoff P, Nelson N, Bunemann H, Herrmann RG: Localization of genes for coupling factor subunits on the spinach plastid chromosome. Curr Genet 4:109–120, 1981.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Whitfeld PR, Bottomley W: Mapping of the gene for the large subunit of ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase on spinach chloroplast DNA. Biochem Int 1:172–178, 1980.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Wright RM, Cummings DJ: Integration of mitochondrial gene sequences within the nuclear genome during senescence in a fungus. Nature 302:86–88, 1983.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff/Dr W. Junk Publishers 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dara L. Whisson
    • 1
  • N. Steele Scott
    • 1
  1. 1.CSIRO Division of Horticultural ResearchAdelaideSouth Australia

Personalised recommendations