Group I introns were reported for the first time in the large subunit of Rubisco (rbcL) genes, using two colonial green algae, Pleodorina californica and Gonium multicoccum (Volvocales). The rbcL gene of P. californica contained an intron (PlC intron) of 1320 bp harboring an open reading frame (ORF). The G. multicoccum rbcL gene had two ORF-lacking introns of 549 (GM1 intron) and 295 (GM2 intron) base pairs. Based on the conserved nucleotide sequences of the secondary structure, the PlC and GM1 introns were assigned to group IA2 whereas the GM2 intron belonged to group IA1. Southern hybridization analyses of nuclear and chloroplast DNAs indicated that such intron-containing rbcL genes are located in the chloroplast genome. Sequencing RNAs from the two algae revealed that these introns are spliced out during mRNA maturation. In addition, the PlC and GM1 introns were inserted in the same position of the rbcL exons, and phylogenetic analysis of group IA introns indicated a close phylogenetic relationship between the PlC and GM1 introns within the lineage of bacteriophage group IA2 introns. However, P. californica and G. multicoccum occupy distinct clades in the phylogenetic trees of the colonial Volvocales, and the majority of other colonial volvocalean species do not have such introns in the rbcL genes. Therefore, these introns might have been recently inserted in the rbcL genes independently by horizontal transmission by viruses or bacteriophage.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2004
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